Focus on asset selection and performance: These are key issues. And today, consumers and producers have more realistic expectations about this than in the pastand they also know the world is not going to end.

–Gary Hirschkron, AXA Financial, New York

Dont “transact” VAs: VAs straddle 2 worldsinsurance and mutual funds. They are simpler to sell than traditional life insurance but more complicated to sell than mutual funds. So, spend time with the client, do the fact finding and uncover the needs before finding a product.

–John M. OSullivan, Trinity Actuarial Consulting LLC, Birmingham, Ala.

Take a long-term approach on VAs: This works best for the consumer. But to minimize volatility, use asset allocation. (Dont slap on guarantees and then suggest taking aggressive equity positions.)

–J. Thomas Moore, consultant, Gulf Shore, Ala.

Provide professional advice: Use the advice mode. Identify the clients needs and fit the recommendations to the specific situation.

–Robert Goldenberg, MONY Life Insurance Company, New York

Approach VL thoughtfully: Be more careful about when to use VL vs. whole life and universal life. (And, if considering WL, dont assume the high general account rates used for WL dividends will stick around.)

–Gary Hirschkron, AXA Financial, New York

Strive for both: You need both new product ideas and enthusiasm on the part of distribution to be successful in this market.

–Frank Sabatini, Ernst & Young, Hartford, Conn.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, March 25, 2004. Copyright 2004 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.