As I perused my list of financial news sites earlier today, I couldn’t help but notice a trend that should leave every agent who sells life insurance with a huge smile on their face. Every single headline I saw about life insurance was positive, predicting increased sales and a more secure industry. Moody, for example, has upgraded its outlook for the U.S. life insurance industry from negative to stable. Fitch is expecting higher earnings overall for life insurers in 2010 than in 2009, and LIMRA reported that life insurance sales in the first quarter of 2010 were 10 percent higher than life insurance sales in the first quarter of 2009. Considering that the first six months of 2009 saw the steepest six-month drop in life insurance sales in nearly 70 years, this optimism should make life insurance agents extremely excited.

Whenever I talk to agents or industry professionals about life insurance, they always say that life insurance is one of those products that doesn’t have too difficult a time weathering a storm. The average consumer understands the value of protecting their assets and creating a safety net for their family, so even in a financial downturn they will set aside some money for life insurance. Sure, they might turn to a more budget-friendly product like term insurance to bridge the gap between now and the time their finances turn around, but still – a small sale is better than no sale.

Still, it seems there’s no denying that the past year has been difficult for life agents. Sales were down, and the sales that were made had smaller premiums and smaller commissions. And yet you carried on. What kept you going through the rough patch? Was it knowing that there would be better times ahead? Or was it just the fact that you believe in the value of life insurance so much that you knew it was worth the effort it took to break through the financial objection and find the clients that were willing to make life insurance a priority?

No matter what it was, if you stuck around, it’s going to pay off – 2010 should be a great year for life agents.