Today’s financial crisis is leading to news reports that question the capabilities of the insurance industry, warns Douglas Mishkin.
Mishkin, the 2008 chairman of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, Fairfax, Va., and a brokerage general agent with Algren Park Avenue Brokerage, New York, N.Y., talked about the industry’s response to the crisis here at NAILBA’s 27th annual meeting.
The current climate could easily cause consumers to lose confidence in the financial markets as well as in their advisors, at a time when advisors need to help the baby boom generation buy life insurance, long term care insurance and annuity products, Mishkin said in his last address as NAILBA chairman.
“In times like this, it is more important than ever for us to make our producers understand that our industry and carriers still have strong underlying fundamentals,” Mishkin said. “Producers must reassure clients that the promises held in their insurance contracts are safe.
“And it is our job as BGAs to make sure that the proper message is sent to the independent sales force, who are not always in direct contact with carriers, and who can get mixed messages from the media as to the health of our industry.”
In recent years, NAILBA has stepped up advocacy efforts, Mishkin reported.
“The importance of that will become clear next year,” he said, “as the industry will possibly need to protect itself against bad regulations and bad selling practices.”
On the tax reform front, Mishkin predicted that 2009 and 2010 will be very active years.
The Obama administration will be looking for ways to finance the bailout packages, and “our industry is one of the only ones left with a tax-advantaged product,” Mishkin said.