Imagine one of your clients wants to buy life insurance (it happens!). But you never get around to sell the product because you had bigger fish (read: “products”) to fry. Or what if you knew a client had a large life insurance need, but you never raised the topic because you were just too busy? In both scenarios, did you fulfill your duty as an ethical financial advisor?
We might ask the same question of the entire life insurance industry. That’s because millions of Americans need life insurance today. But they’re not getting an opportunity to buy due to changing field force demographics.
Consider these statistics:
o According to LIMRA, the number of life agents has plummeted from about 250,000 in 1975 to less than 154,000 last year. Meanwhile, the number of agent recruits has fallen to about 35,000 per year, down from 55,000 in 1975.
o Not surprisingly, the industry is only selling about 9 million life policies a year, down from 17 million in the mid-1980s. Yet over this time frame, the number of U.S. households with children increased by about 20 percent. Talk about a missed opportunity!
o Making things worse, 50 percent of Americans say they need more life insurance and 25 percent say they’d buy if given the opportunity. But fewer and fewer are getting that opportunity (only about one in four around the turn of the millennium).