The economic downturn, and efforts to cope with the downturn, loomed large at a recent life insurance industry executive conference.
Some of the speakers at the meeting, which was sponsored by the National Underwriter Company and its parent, Summit Business Media L.L.C., Erlanger, Ky., talked about the effects of the slump on sales and marketing.
When an economic crisis hits, advisors have to go to clients, not wait for clients to come to them, said Don Lippencott, an agent for New York Life Insurance Company, New York. In the week after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., New York, went bankrupt in September 2008, Lippencott made close to 140 phone calls to clients, he said.
For clients troubled by reduced values of their businesses, real estate and other investments, Lippencott offered this advice: buy cash-value life insurance policies, where returns are guaranteed.
Russ Diachok, president of Geneos Wealth Management, Centennial, Colo., used the recessionary climate to reinforce the living benefits of another product that offers guaranteed returns – fixed annuities.
“Our annuity business spiked dramatically last year,” Diachok said.
Because of the financial crisis, many older clients now understand that they will have to live off their assets in retirement, said Ron Bucchi, a principal at Flores & Bucchi Financial Services, San Antonio.
Perhaps because of that epiphany, more people ages 60 and older are buying life insurance, said Steven Weisbart, the chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute, New York.
In September, he noted, the number of life applications filed by people ages 60 and older was 14% higher than it was a year earlier.
“People need help constructing their own financial safety net,” he said.