When we received the results from our first National Underwriter Life Insurance Survey a few weeks ago, quite a few things surprised me.
Like the fact that, despite all the hand-wringing earlier this year, the fiscal cliff deal had no effect on 70 percent of practices.
Or that fully 12 percent of agents said they only conduct client reviews if a client asks for one.
Or that more than 3 percent of the agents we surveyed said they don’t own life insurance. (Seriously, you guys?)
A few things didn’t surprise me in the least, though. Chief among them? The demographics of our survey respondents.
Roughly 75 percent said they were 50 or older. Only 22 percent were female. And nearly 70 percent had spent more than 11 years in this business. (About 25 percent had spent more than 30 years!) We didn’t ask about race, but as anyone who’s attended a life insurance conference in the last … uh, ever … knows, I don’t think it’s a stretch to guess that our respondents weren’t incredibly diverse.
So what, right? These are stats that simply confirm what we’ve known for a long time now: the life insurance industry is home to a lot of aging white guys. Big deal.
But that’s exactly the problem. Our industry’s worrying demographics are old news, and they really, really shouldn’t be.
It means our efforts over the years — diversity programs, college recruitment schemes — haven’t made enough of a dent.
It means, in an increasingly diverse America, significant populations still can’t find an agent who understands their specific needs.
It means we’re creeping closer to a time when it’s going to be difficult to find an agent, period. (And that’s assuming a client, especially a middle-income client, is even seeking one out in the first place.)