GAMA Promotes Mentoring And Membership At LAMP Meeting
With GAMA Internationals U.S. membership dropping from 7,600 to 3,800 in the last decade, the industrywide problem of a shrinking career distribution field force has hit the organization hard. At this years LAMP meeting, GAMA President Phillip Richards, delivered a call to arms to an audience of about 1,600.
“There are major problems facing the industry,” he said. “And, only through mutual commitment and mentoring can we turn the tide.”
Richards explained in his keynote address that increasing costs of supporting career distribution channels have driven many companies away from it, with fewer than half of the life companies that used to invest in career distribution doing so today.
“What we are dealing with now in America is an underserved market, especially the middle market,” Richards continued. “There just arent enough life insurance agents or financial planners out there to help these people.”
Richards said the career distribution channel has the power to solve this agent shortage issue. But to turn the tide and increase the number of quality agents in the business today, agency managers must get back to the fundamentals of recruiting and training–with a special focus on mentoring.
“We were all mentored in some way, now its time to give back,” he said.
Richards call for more agents to get involved with mentoring programs comes with the continued promotion of the GAMA/MDRT joint mentoring program. Richards described the program as a “godsend” for both agencies and companies “in terms of revitalizing life sales and having a better format for bringing inexperienced people into our business.”
GAMA International Vice President James Krueger said statistics have shown that mentoring not only benefits new agents, but “the mentors themselves have had an average 30% growth in business.”
Richards said agency managers need to focus on bringing more inexperienced people into the business, and to build quality people through mentoring and study groups–resources available through GAMA membership.
In an effort to grow membership, GAMA President-elect Michael White has built a strategy to promote the resources available to managers who belong to GAMA. White is shooting for a 7% net membership increase each year for the next five years.
Board members, individuals involved with the membership task force and executive board members will be focusing on a company approach–attending company meetings to “sell the value proposition,” said Richards.