Debra believes in life insurance and the critical role it plays following the death of a loved one. After all, she knows about this firsthand.

At 51, Debra lost her husband to cancer. She is grateful he had purchased a whole life policy 31 years beforehand. The life insurance benefit was needed, and of all the tasks Debra was faced with following her husband’s death, she found the life insurance claims process much easier and less stressful. Her insurance agent, Clint, was easy to get in touch with, responsive, compassionate, courteous and professional.

Just 29 days later, the $23,240 death benefit was placed into a checking account for Debra to access. She used the money to pay for her husband’s funeral and medical expenses. She also applied a portion toward the mortgage on their home in Iowa and bought a car for their 19-year-old son.  Indeed, Debra assures us life insurance played an extremely significant role with her immediate financial needs and will continue to make a difference in the long term as well. Debra is insured by the same carrier that covered her husband and, should the need arise, is very likely to do business with it again. It’s also quite likely Debra will recommend this insurance company to a colleague or friend.

Debra was one of more than 4,200 beneficiaries who participated in a recent LIMRA survey. We found an impressive 95 percent of beneficiaries are satisfied with the claims experience. Nearly half (48 percent) are likely to recommend the life insurance company they just interacted with. When we looked at the data more closely, a higher percentage of beneficiaries were likely to recommend the life insurance company  when they worked with an agent (57 percent) than those whose primary contact was a claims examiner (47 percent),or anyone else (37 percent).

See also: Life insurance claimants “satisfied” with experience

The very top-performing companies in the survey did well across the board whether claimants dealt with the agent or the home office. But for most carriers, the presence of the agent made for a more favorable experience.

Interactions with the primary contact: Percent of claimants offering an “excellent” rating

Agent

Carrier

Courteousness

62%

47%

Professionalism

62%

47%

Care and compassion

60%

43%

Took ownership

60%

44%

Offered clear explanations

59%

44%

Responsiveness

57%

40%

Ease of reaching

54%

35%

LIMRA’s study quantitatively proves how valuable and valued life insurance agents are. But more than that, the study underscored the ways in which agents make a very difficult time a little easier for families who’ve just lost a loved one. They are often on the front line, fulfilling the promises made by our industry.

With our eye often on sales and marketing, LIMRA’s survey of beneficiaries reminds us what life insurance is about at the very core. More than ever, it’s during this moment of truth that insurance agents are doing our industry proud.

 

For more industry research, see:

LIMRA: DC in-plan guaranteed assets total $2.2B

Individual life combo products grew 10% in 2012

Most Gen X and Y Americans financially uninformed