The Buzz At NAILBAs Annual: Tuning In To Senior Needs
Insurers and financial marketing organizations increasingly are spotlighting the senior market in product development and marketing campaigns.
But how is this playing out in the field? When a senior client comes in, are producers saying to themselvesor to their staffers”Lets be sure to use those large print materials”? Or, do they remind themselves that “we need to remember to talk slow, and speak louder than usual”? Or, do they search the database for senior-friendly companies, underwriters and products?
In short, are they themselves part of the senior marketing machine?
Not necessarily in the sense painted above. But yes, in the sense of being tuned in to the needs of senior clientsespecially if the producers have had specialty training and education in senior market issues and needs.
That was the buzz from the podium and the hallways at the annual meeting here of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies of Fairfax, Va.
Producers do have many senior clients, say the experts, but they dont necessarily think in senior marketing terms, nor do they automatically turn on the senior sales switch whenever a mature client walks in the door.
“The professional advisor will put the needs of the client first, not the persons age,” said one experienced life producer. “We use the senior materials to inform us, but we dont say, here is a senior; therefore, we should sell a certain product or talk a certain way.”
This is the case in the affluent market, too, even though most clients in that market are seniors, points out Richard D. Keidan, executive vice president and chief distribution officer of Highland Capital Holding Corporation, Birmingham, Ala.
“We dont break out our clients into age segments,” he explains. “Rather, we look at what they needfor example, estate transfer, long term care insurance or perhaps management of the wealth they have accumulated.”
There is just “no pro forma approach that will work with this market,” Keidan adds.
Its not that the producers or their clients dont recognize their age. “Many of them, even if they have $10 million in assets,” say they are concerned about outliving their money, Keidan notes.
But the advisors at his firm do not approach this concern from a “senior market” perspective, he says. “We view it as problem solving in the wealth transfer market.”
Still, Keidan is convinced that the financial industrys senior market campaigns “are not a waste.”
These programs should help producers when the customer base is larger and individual attention is harder to give, he says. One example would be mid-market seniors at banks and savings-and-loan companies. In that market, it would be more efficient to use simpler products and to segment by age, he says.
The various senior market designation and certification programs that now exist are very helpful to those who work with older clients, says Steve McLaughlin, senior vice president of Lincoln Benefit, Lincoln, Neb.
This is an industry level response to the growth in the senior population, he says.