Banks Well Placed To Sell More Life Products, Says Hartford Exec
Despite recent flat premium growth, banks are in a good position to increase life insurance sales in the current economy, said Tom Marra, president and chief operating officer of Hartford Life Inc., in a speech here at the Bank Insurance and Securities Association annual convention last week.
Many life insurance carriers see banks as an opportunity to gain share of market as they invest in improving field sales support, Marra said.
Moreover, he maintained, with only 53% of Americans owning any kind of life insurance, the market is underserved and underpenetrated. Insurers need banks to help pierce that market, he said.
Although annuity sales have shown strong growth in banks, data compiled by LIMRA and Kenneth Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J., show industry sales of life insurance flat, holding steady at around $11.5 billion between 2000 and 2002, he noted.
“Many Americans are not being called on to buy life insurance,” Marra said.
With almost 14,000 series 7 financial advisors and 25,000 licensed platform bankers, banks have an opportunity to leverage their sales forces to sell a varied menu of financial products, he noted.
Hartfords bank sales for all products, including annuities and mutual funds, rose 12% to more than $4.6 billion in 2002, from around $4.1 billion the year before, he reported.
Marra also noted that banks are well situated to take advantage of the expected boom in retirement plan rollovers.