FIIA Study Finds Banks Favor One-On-One Selling For Insurance
Referrals by bank personnel that are followed by face-to-face selling by insurance reps remains banks favorite approach to insurance sales, a new study by the Financial Institutions Insurance Association finds.
The Internet is largely unused for sales but will likely see an increasing role over the next few years, the executives interviewed for the study say.
The study, whose results were outlined at the FIIA annual conference here, was based on in-depth interviews with 10 top executives in charge of their banks insurance operations. It was conducted by Carmen F. Effron, a bank-insurance consultant in Westport, Conn. who is on the FIIA board.
Although acknowledging that the study sample was small, Effron said in an interview that the unidentified banks were considered leaders in the sales of insurance. They have been selling insurance for an average of 6.3 years.
Effron described three of the banks as money-center institutions, or national retail banks, with $60 billion to $120 billion in assets. Three were super regionals, that is, represented in multiple states, with $10 billion to $25 billion in assets. Four were community banks, with $61 million to $2.3 billion in assets.
Effron told conference attendees that she found a strong correlation between the length of time a bank has sold insurance and its overall satisfaction with its program. This, she suggested, means that insurance success requires banks to be patient.
Banks that were most satisfied with their insurance programs generally used more than one sales channel for the purpose–for instance, acquiring agencies while also entering into joint ventures with outside third parties, Effron reported.
Satisfaction also seemed to depend on bank size, with larger banks feeling happier about their insurance programs than smaller ones.
Banks with assets of less than $2 billion and whose insurance programs had existed for less than four years rated themselves only moderately satisfied.