After a steady decline through most of the 1990s, the forecast for life agent recruiting is showing an upward trend.
Many companies have been struggling with their recruiting efforts, forcing them to think of new and creative ways to attract producers. Some of these efforts appear to be paying off, and there has been a steady increase in the number of agents in the business since 1997.
At New England Financial, for instance, recruiting has become a priority. “Since 1996, recruiting has been a number one focus for the organization from a home office and a field perspective,” says Bill Cuff, vice president recruiting, training, and management development, New England Financial, Boston.
The strategy New England has been using transforms the traditional general agency operation into a marketing organization, says Cuff.
“We’ve had a shift in culture to the advanced marketing firm,” he continues. Cuff attributes New England’s continued recruiting success to this new type of organization.
“There’s a partnership between the agency and the company. Our general agents are now called managing partners; our field offices specialize in different industries, marketing to the high-net-worth market,” says Cuff.
One reason for the increase in recruiting may be found in a recent LIMRA report. The report considers the growing size of the workforce as a reason for the increase, showing a correlation between agents recruited into the business and the birth rates of the U.S. population.
The LIMRA report makes the assumption that generally people enter the workforce after 20 years. The 20-year lag in births and the number of agents recruited were at their lowest levels between 1992 and 1997. The report shows that there appears to be a direct correlation between these two elements (see figure 1).