June 20, 2013

Advisors Struggle With Life Insurance Sales

Majority offer insurance, but struggle bringing it to clients

Many advisors struggle to make a good business out of life insurance, a survey released on Tuesday by Saybrus Partners found. Less than half described their life insurance sales and advice as “successful” or “very successful.”

Clients don’t appear to be very interested in life insurance. Forty-four percent of advisors polled at Pershing’s 2013 INSITE conference in Hollywood, Fla., said just 10% of their clients brought up the subject of life insurance on their own.

“This survey shows that financial advisors have an opportunity to fill a gap and educate their clients about the potential role of life insurance,” Kevin Kimbrough, national sales manager for Saybrus Partners, an insurance firm, said in a statement. “Though most advisors work to incorporate life insurance into their clients’ financial plans, they are not as successful as they could be.”

The survey found 70% of advisors offer life insurance to their clients. Of those who don’t, nearly half said it took away from their primary business. Just 17% said they didn’t offer it because it was too complicated.

More than a third of advisors who do offer life insurance said the number of different policies and riders and understanding how they meet clients’ needs make selling it difficult. About a quarter said there was too much paperwork, and 13% said they couldn’t keep up with frequent changes in products.

Although advisors surveyed by Saybrus feel their clients aren’t interested in hearing about life insurance, a separate survey conducted in August by New York Life found that people who own life insurance tend to be happier than those without it. Forty-two percent of life insurance owners said they are very happy with their lives, compared with 32% of non-owners. Almost two-thirds think their quality of life is better than the average American’s, compared with 51% of non-owners.

“There is a sense that you’ve taken care of a key element of protection for your family, and that brings comfort and confidence that an important base is covered,” Mark Pfaff, executive vice president and head of agency for New York Life, said in a statement.

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Check out Median Retirement Balance Is $3,000 for All Working-Age Households on AdvisorOne.

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