Littell Responds To Outrage

To The Editor:

The article I wrote, “NetWeaving As A Recruiting Tool,” which appeared in the March 17, 2003, issue of National Underwriter, was intended to be a very positive article. I simply wanted to illustrate some specific ways that NetWeaving–a win-win form of networking focused on helping others with the belief and conviction in the law of reciprocity–what goes around, comes around–could help in recruiting new agents, which our industry sorely needs. It will do so by creating new ways to attract more new agents who will enter our profession–proud to call themselves a “life insurance agent” as I am.

A letter by Steve Bertino in the April 7 issue singled out two points in the article with which he took strong issue, and I actually have no problem with him doing so. With the first point, there was some confusion between NUs editors and myself over what I had intended. In my submitted version, I had put in “past tense” the phrase, “days of a life insurance agent being considered an admired profession were mostly over.” This was meant to refer back to a historical perspective in the previous paragraph. This was changed to “are mostly over.”

Although my original version could be construed differently, I did not intend to give the impression that I dont believe we can recover from some of the industry problems that have tainted our reputation. I do not feel that way at all.

In fact I am in agreement with Mr. Bertinos challenging this statement that “the days of a life insurance agent being considered an admired profession are mostly over.”

Thats some of what NetWeaving is going to help tackle–by elevating and enhancing the image of our profession, and by helping agents become more recognized within their communities as an irreplaceable asset–as a “connector” and a “gratuitous resource” for others.

I also agree with Mr. Bertinos second outrage and this one I concede should have been stated differently: “Of course, we all know that on an individual basis, men and women agents in their local communities still rise to the top and attain a high image and status–but the insurance profession as a whole certainly doesnt have it anymore.” That was my error and although I said, “as a whole,” I should have said, “ doesnt have as much as it once had.”

If Mr. Bertino disagrees with this statement, then Im sorry, but hes been living in a different world from what Ive seen over my 34 years in the business.

Maybe in this case, controversy is good. I commend Mr. Bertino for challenging these two statements. Hopefully those who know me, recognize my love for our industry–especially for what we as “life insurance professionals” bring to the table in helping people overcome their procrastination and denial, which without our help would leave millions of families unprotected or underprotected.

I also hope there will be interest in a new way agents and planners can use “NetWeaving” as a “door opener,” or just as a way to help nonprofits and service organizations with which they work and are passionate about. Wouldnt it be great if you were able to create a new way for virtually any nonprofit, foundation or service organization to raise substantial new funds? Would that help give you access to many of their key donors, as well as just make you feel you were doing something great for a favored cause? Stay tuned.

Bob Littell
Littell Consulting Services
Atlanta, Ga.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 28, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.