The Classic of Life selling stories


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<H1>A LIFE Classic Revisited
Seven years later, Dorsey Hoskins and her sister, Hattie, are still benefiting from their parents’ foresight.

By Jon Dressner, Vice President, LIFE Foundation


Dorsey(left) and Hattie(right) Hoskins​
LIFE’s most famous print ad features a young girl named Dorsey Hoskins. One quick glance at Dorsey’s big blue eyes and the serene expression on her face, and you’re immediately drawn into the ad.

Dorsey’s story is just as compelling as the look on her face. Her father, Bryan, was a fit and active 32-year-old when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He died six months later, leaving behind his wife, Dean, and 2-year-old twins, Dorsey and her sister, Hattie. Fortunately, Bryan had bought life insurance when he got married, and again when the girls were born.

Thanks to his foresight, the only major change for Dean and the girls was losing Bryan. They didn’t have to leave the home they loved. The girls didn’t have to change schools and make new friends. And Dean was able to invest in her own small business, which gave her the flexibility to schedule work hours around her children’s needs.

They grow up so fast
Dorsey was 5 years old when the ad was produced. That was seven years ago, and much has changed since then. For one, the girls have grown up. They’re teenagers now, having just turned 13. Both are “A” students. But that’s where most of the similarities end. Dorsey is the jock. She’s a competitive swimmer and tennis player. Hattie is the artistic one. She plays the piano and the French horn.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the family’s quality of life. They still live in the same house, and Dean has been able to keep the girls in an excellent private school. Though it’s been nearly 10 years since Bryan died, his life insurance continues to play a crucial role in the family’s financial situation. Thanks to the help of her agent, Cullen Douglass, CFP, a member of Nashville AIFA, Dean’s income is still supplemented by investments made with the life insurance money.


Like many agents, Cullen is more than just a financial advisor to the Hoskins family. He was Bryan’s best friend and remains dear friends with Dean. Today, he and his family live next door to the Hoskins in a suburb of Nashville, and their lives are intertwined. Dorsey and Hattie often baby-sit Cullen’s three young children. And when Hattie needed someone to take her to the father-daughter dance earlier this year, Cullen gladly obliged.

New challenges
Dean is the first to admit that being a single mom is tough. From maintaining the household and helping the girls with schoolwork to shuttling them to all their activities, everything rests on her shoulders. However, Dean’s greatest challenge is helping the girls manage chronic health conditions that were diagnosed in recent years.

Dorsey has Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal disorder that caused her to lose 18 pounds off her already-slender frame before it was diagnosed and properly treated. Medications and a special diet help Dorsey lead a very normal life. Hattie, on the other hand, faces greater challenges. She was diagnosed several years ago with Charcot-Marie-Tooth or CMT, a neurological disorder that causes people to slowly lose normal use of their feet/legs and hands/arms as nerves to their extremities degenerate and muscles weaken. Though Hattie sometimes wears leg braces, she usually doesn’t need them. The disease also hasn’t stopped her from playing the piano, though that’s likely to happen someday.

Smart planning
Fortunately, Dorsey’s and Hattie’s health issues haven’t done much to dampen their spirits. On most days, they’re upbeat and carefree and don’t let their illnesses get the best of them. Even if their conditions worsen, one thing they won’t worry about later in their lives is life insurance. That’s because when the girls were infants, Bryan and Dean bought each of them $50,000 whole life policies from Northwestern Mutual. If the policies are kept in force and remain untouched until the girls are 65, the death benefit is projected to grow to $463,000 and the cash value to $250,000.

Given their medical conditions, the more likely scenario is that the girls will take advantage of the option to increase their coverage. Beginning when they are 22, they can choose to add $75,000 in coverage on seven different occasions, for a cumulative addition of $525,000 in coverage. With dividends, the death benefit and cash values could be considerably greater than that. Other than Bryan’s life insurance purchases, Bryan and Dean’s decision to pay $300 a year for each of those policies is probably the best financial move they ever made.

Dean and the girls will continue to face their fair share of challenges. But thanks to smart planning, they’ll do so with the financial peace of mind that only life insurance can deliver. Now you know the rest of the story.

Jon Dressner is vice president of LIFE. For more information on LIFE’s realLIFEstories program, visit or call 202-464-5000.
Just a classic story about selling WL Insurance.
That's a great post!

I have a poster of that particular ad hanging in my office, it's good to know what the results of prudent planning can do for a family.