One of the greatest rural America sayings is, “that dog won’t hunt.” Growing up in North Carolina, I’ve heard teachers, coaches, grandmas, grandpas, mothers, fathers, and even preachers use this nebulous phrase to explain why something obviously isn’t going to work.
In my constant quest to figure out why the fixed annuity industry continues to be so disjointed from a message standpoint, I have a new phrase that I’ve come up with to explain our current communication dilemma: This annuity “dogma” won’t hunt. For those of you that need a tutorial on the word “dogma,” let’s take a closer look at the definition.
According to Merriam-Webster, dogma is “a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.” Another meaning is “something held as an established opinion.”
So what annuity “dogma” am I talking about? The “annuity dogma that won’t hunt,” in my opinion, is the ongoing fractured messages that continue to not only confuse people and label our industry in a negative light, but seem to be accepted by the majority without being challenged.
How could such a fantastic fixed annuity product line be so maligned? How could an industry have products that the public needs and are actually looking for, and not be looked upon favorably? This ongoing hatred of annuities, unless addressed and solved for, could be the biggest financial conundrum ever. Universities will give classes on it. Studies will be published trying to explain it. Let’s beat them all to the punch and solve the dogma problems right now.
It’s time for us to stop accepting how the annuity industry does business, and start questioning, doubting, and changing current opinions and practices for the better. Below are just a couple examples of what I am talking about.
Current annuity “dogma” that won’t hunt
Trying to keep up with “the market.”
For whatever reason, the annuity industry always compares itself to the securities industry. I hear it all of the time, especially with the indexed agent army. The first thing the fixed annuity industry needs to do is totally separate itself from “the market.” The 151A fight should be in everyone’s rearview mirror by now, and we should separate ourselves as far as possible from the risk-related securities industry. We want to be the exact opposite in my opinion, and trumpet the transfer of risk guarantees that fixed annuities provide.
Industry ads direct to agents
Without naming the sender and trying to be kind, I recently received an email promoting how agents can sell more annuities with the example being a person that used to drive a vehicle professionally (i.e., truck) and just made six figures in a few months selling annuities. Who in the world is this ad targeted to? Really! The first thing that hit me is that whoever wants to attack the annuity industry would definitely use this ad (and many others like it) as ammunition against us. And by the way, they would have a good case.