I attended last week’s LIMRA Distribution Conference in Ponte Vedra, Fla., where the theme was, “Distribution: At the Heart of the Game.” A couple of themes in particular caught my attention and resonated through many sessions at the three-day event. The exponential growth of technology and how it is impacting insurance distribution was one, and the other was an increased focus on selling life insurance through financial institutions, as the traditional independent producer channel battles an aging workforce.

Here are some interesting random tidbits from sessions I attended during the event:

  • Want a good team exercise for staying in the moment and really paying attention to the people you are with as opposed to interacting with your smartphone? Try this, courtesy of futurist David Zach, a featured speaker during one of Thursday’s general sessions: When coworkers go out to lunch or get together for happy hour, have everybody place their phones in a pile at the center of the table. The first person to pick up and use his or her phone pays the bill.
  • In an in-person selling situation, instead of going face-to-face, move next to them and go side-to-side. Look at your presentation with them. Show them, don’t confront them. Again, courtesy of David Zach.
  • Technology accelerates exponentially, not linearly. For example, think about the sales of e-books, and how their recent proliferation has decimated brick and mortar booksellers Borders and (on the ropes) Barnes & Noble. The technology has been around since about 1997, but the more recent introduction of e-readers, like Kindle from Amazon and even Barnes & Noble’s Nook, along with the iPad and other tablets has dramatically spiked e-book sales since 2010. Thursday breakout session speaker Neal MacDonald, CLU, ChFC, of State Farm, had some enlightening (and downright scary) thoughts about artificial intelligence, but perhaps none scarier than this: can you image Google utilizing a virtual insurance salesperson? MacDonald can, and it could happen sooner than you think.
  • Think everything is already connected to the Internet? According to futurist David Zach, there are currently about 60 billion devices connected to the Internet. By 2020, he says that figure will be 200 billion.
  • The near future of technology. Emerging technology and how it may be integrated into the market was a frequent topic during the conference. A video shown by speaker James Quade of Liberty Mutual during Friday’s general session provides an eye-opening look at how the daily lives of consumers will be significantly transformed in the not-too-distant future: Corning: A Day Made of Glass

Stay tuned to LifeHealthPro later today for more insight from this conference about how the bank channel is increasingly being looked at as a significant part of the solution to the problem of an aging independent producer workforce.