Looking At The Fixed Annuity Market: Where Did Everyone Go?
As an independent insurance agent, specializing in selling fixed annuities, Im wondering where everybody went.
Ive been hearing for years that we were going to a “paperless” society, but I didnt know we were going “peopleless” at the same time!
Clients and agents often tell me they have tried to call a home office to transact business, but they cant find anyone to talk to. They get frustrated and mad when they cant get a problem solved through the “peopleless” phone system.
When they leave a message, no one returns their call. Whats worse, if their call is returned, the home office person doesnt know the answer, doesnt follow up to complete the request and rudeness is very common.
The problem is so widespread there isnt room in this article to list the companies where this occurs. However, Ill offer a hint: The companies with the worst renewal rates most often have the worst service.
Everyone knows there are fewer insurance companies today than there were 5 years ago. But who could have predicted that the remaining companies would get rid of so many service personnel?
It reminds me of the home office definition of apathy: “If we dont take care of our customers, maybe theyll stop bugging us.”
If you ask me, instead of going “paperless,” companies are increasing the need for more paper.
Annuity applications that used to be one page are now two pages long. Ive seen annuity applications that are 10 pages in length. More and more companies are demanding that a one- or two-page disclosure statement also be submitted with the application; this creates even more paperwork, in addition to any required replacement or transfer forms.
The sad part is that companies are requiring more lengthy forms, primarily in an effort to protect themselves from potential lawsuits caused by unethical agents.
Professional agents are forced to attend ethics classes and sign statements with companies agreeing to treat clients in an ethical manner with companies touting the IMSA logo. However, I dont know of any insurance company executive having to sign a similar document.