Just as many in the industry had hoped, there will be another Life Insurance Awareness Month next year. Building on the success of this years first-ever campaign, September 2005 has been so designated.

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education said it has spent the past two months since the end of September getting input from those companies and associations that participated in the campaign.

The feedback that LIFE got, apparently, is that the promotion was a rousing success.

In a release announcing the new LIAM, LIFE said the industry “has been unanimous in its desire to see this campaign conducted each September.”

David Woods, president of LIFE and CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, said, “By coming together as an industry for 30 days this past September, we accomplished things that never would have happened had we not acted collectively.”

Saying that in 2005, “the bar will be set higher,” Woods added that “the time has come to put an end to the decades-long slide in life insurance sales and ownership.”

Bravo, Dave!

It finally sounds as if someone really means to make it happen instead of simply repeating the bleating about declining sales that has become as familiar as background noise.

I am heartened by the fact that Life Insurance Awareness Month will have a second act, so to speak, but that it wont be “Groundhog Day,” which is to say that plans are to make 2005s LIAM bigger and better.

As I wrote back on Oct. 11 after the promotion had ended, “it seems to me that the whole purpose of LIAM was to raise the publics consciousness about how important it is for them to have life insurance. Or, I should say its purpose was to start to raise the publics consciousness. So, this needs to be looked at as a long-range project, not a one-month deal.

“The simple fact is that while the promotion may have had a definite beginning and end, the underlying reason for it has to generate ongoing efforts. If it doesnt, if LIAM is looked at as something that necessitated effort for one monthand one month onlythen its purpose will have been defeated.”

According to LIFE, more than 100 life insurance companies and 13 trade groups took part in the promotion. LIFE said a number of insurers that participated in LIAM reported sales increases in September and October.

But, it continued, even those companies that reported sales increases acknowledge it is difficult to know how much of it to attribute to LIAM. Nonetheless, LIFE said, “they are convinced the campaign deserves some of the credit and they view it as an important marketing platform they plan to build upon in future years.”

In my Oct. 11 column, I also wrote: “I hope that companies and industry groups dont judge the success of LIAM by whether or not there was an immediate spike in sales of life insurance. That would be nice, of course, but it also would be short-sighted. Immediate increased sales would be like icing on the cake but shouldnt be mistaken for the cake itself.”

So, it is good to see that companies are taking the long view.

One of the reasons that LIAM was so successful, I feel, is that LIFE hit the jackpot by hiring Kwame Jackson as spokesman for the promotion. Jackson, who became a celebrity on the TV show “The Apprentice,” was a true believer in life insurance and spoke about it from his heart in numerous interviews on radio and TV.

I dont know whether Jackson will be available (and maybe more to the point whether he will be affordable) next year. But its certainly worth a shot as he has genuine star power.

Seeing what a concerted industry effort can achieve for life insurance, it makes me yearn for a similar effort on behalf of long term care insurance.

Any takers?

Steve Piontek

Editor-in-Chief


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, December 3, 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.