Ideas For Recruiting During A Producer Shortage
Imagine James Montgomery Flaggs famous World War I recruiting poster; now replace Uncle Sam with an insurance company executive saying “I Want You!” This should give you a pretty clear picture of what the life insurance industry is facing with its current quest for qualified brokers.
Today there is a severe shortage of both career agents and independent producers.
Recent studies by LIMRA have shown the number of career agents in the insurance industry has been dropping steadily since 1975. The number of recruits contracted annually has dropped from more than 54,000 to fewer than 25,000.
This shortage comes, ironically, at a time when some 40 million “echo boomers”–children of baby boomers–are approaching the prime years for buying life insurance.
Furthermore, current producers are aging and likely heading toward retirement. The median age of producers in 1999 was 50, and the number of producers over 55 increased from 23% to 32% between 1996 and 1999, according to a study conducted jointly by LIMRA and the Falls Church, Va.-based National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
As a result, top carriers have dramatically stepped up their efforts to recruit producers. In any recruiting effort, some strategies work better than others do. Here, in my opinion, are ideas that some companies are using to successfully recruit producers.
Good Products Attract Brokers. While trips to idyllic vacation spots are always a welcome inducement and benefit to recruiting, clearly the most important tool for recruiting effective producers is offering products that will sell well to their clients. After all, the more products producers sell, the stronger their agencys bottom line.
In todays marketplace, this means developing products with an eye toward changing consumer needs. The increasing popularity of universal life products is a perfect example. Americans, concerned that their retirement money will melt away in a down economy, are looking for certainty and flexibility. Cutting-edge carriers are offering products with built-in guarantees and options that enable policyholders to meet both anticipated and unexpected expenses.
Simplify The Process. Along with leading-edge products, insurance companies must also offer quick and accurate processing. To be successful at recruiting producers, carriers must wean themselves away from depending solely on traditional processes that are costly and tedious.
Too many companies remain entrenched with paper and postage, which is not only expensive, but serves as a disincentive to producers who know there are faster, smarter and easier ways to process business.