Is it still possible, in what seem to be the worst of economic times, to make a strong go of it? Chuck McAleer, CLU, ChFC, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Mutual Trust, says that despite ongoing challenges in the economy and further uncertainty on the horizon, his company continues to buck the trends with an emphasis on whole life – and says that others can follow his example.

“Near the end of the last quarter, we were still 10 percent over last year, and we were definitely outperforming the industry – which is not bad for a traditional whole life company,” McAleer says. “The bottom line is that people are looking for a safe product, something that’s risk free, and we can offer that.”

McAleer, a decorated Vietnam veteran, began a career in life insurance in 1977, and says that the development of universal life coverage in the late 1970s considerably changed the industry, pushing more risk onto consumers. Safer, more traditional standbys such as whole life have subsequently come back into favor, he says.

And with a billion dollars in sales in 2007 and 2008 (“It took our company 64 years to do our first billion in business,” he says), McAleer — who will retire from the company at the end of the first quarter of this year — believes that financial opportunities continue to exist, even in trying times.