To open the annual meeting of LIMRA, CEO Robert Kerzner outlined the challenges facing insurance and financial services companies in the new economic climate. “The good news is insurance sales are trending upward and consumers’ confidence in us is slowly rebounding,” noted Kerzner. “But the changes in competition, regulation, risk, capital and distribution will have varying degrees of impact on the future of our industry.”

A long-standing problem for the industry, diminished distribution remains a central issue. Kerzner emphasized the need for more producers and new distribution channels. New LIMRA research, noted Kerzner, found that for the first time the number independent producers declined, dropping seven percent between the years of 2004 and 2007. As a result, current sales could fundamentally affect the future of the industry.

According to Kerzner, the prospect of lifetime income may be more attractive now than in the past. “The economic crisis reinforced consumers’ desire for a guaranteed check in the mailbox every month and they look to us to provide the vehicles to deliver it.”