Life insurance agents and brokers are paying far more attention to insurer stability this year than they were just 8 years ago.

Denise Marvel, a researcher at LIMRA, Windsor, Conn., has published that finding in a report based on a survey of 606 life insurance producers. About half were independent and about were affiliated.

The producers who participated may not be representative of all producers: About 90% have 10 or more years of experience.

But those experienced producers have been paying attention to clients’ flight to security, Marvel writes.

The percentage of producers who said they consider financial strength to be one of the two most important factors when they are evaluating an insurer increased to 26% this year, from 16% in 2003 and 2008, Marvel says.

“Many producers who changed a major carrier in the last three years did so based on financial performance,” Marvel says.

The lessons of the stock market crisis that started in 2008 also appear to be influencing the kinds of product portfolios that attract producers.

“Companies that offer both fixed and variable products are more likely to satisfy the needs of producers who were comfortable writing variable products in better times, but who may now wish to ride out the uncertainty in the markets by writing more traditional fixed products,” Marvel says.

Marvel found that producers are also more interested in service and support, and 32% of the producers named training as the most important aspect of support.

Producers were more interested in product training than in sales training or mentoring.

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