As someone who is constantly striving to stay on top of the issues that are top of mind for life insurance producers, I jumped at the recent opportunity to serve on the Survey Advisory Panel for the National Underwriter 2013 Life Insurance Study.
What better way to gauge what’s really happening out in the market right now than by querying more than 2,000 active life insurance producers to see what’s keeping them up at night or what gets them out of bed in the morning? These people are out on the front lines, dealing with consumer apathy, misperceptions, competition from other channels, regulatory challenges and the constant pressure of commission-based compensation.
The findings from this study go a long way to helping us recognize the primary concerns and opportunities advisors are facing in the field every day. Identifying and understanding these key issues allow the industry to focus on crafting solutions that will better support the life insurance sales efforts of producers, particularly in areas where current support is coming up short.
Client procrastination was identified as the single biggest challenge advisors face when selling life insurance, followed in short order by finding new people to sell to, people not recognizing the need, and people thinking they cannot afford life insurance.
Whether or not the industry – from carriers to wholesalers to producers – is doing enough to combat these primary issues is up for debate, but I don’t think anyone’s going to complain if more resources are devoted to dealing with these big problems.
The more new ideas put forth to help producers overcome client procrastination, the better. The more new ideas put forth to keep your prospect pipeline full, the better. The more ideas for helping potential clients realize that they need coverage and understand that they really can afford life insurance, the better.
It would be tough enough to sell life insurance even if consumers had an accurate idea about what it costs, but when you have to overcome misconceptions like consumers believing it costs three times what it really costs, your job becomes significantly more difficult.
I found it noteworthy in the study just how important leads from carriers and wholesalers/marketing organizations are to producers, and especially younger producers. Leads were the top item identified by producers as to what they need from insurance carriers and – perhaps not so surprisingly – also from wholesalers and marketing organizations (by a wide margin). The need for leads tends to decrease as advisors gain more experience, which makes sense, as experienced advisors are able to rely on their extensive books of business to generate more referrals than less-experienced producers.
The results from surveys such as the National Underwriter 2013 Life Insurance Study help me focus on key issues as I work to develop new content for Life Insurance Selling, National Underwriter and LifeHealthPro.com. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.