A major rating agency has concluded that selling to moderate-income consumers will improve insurers’ finances.
The rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, underscored that view this week by putting a panel discussion on reaching middle-market customers on the agenda for its latest annual insurance industry conference.
The members of the panel included top-level executives: Kenneth Janke, president of AFLAC U.S. (NYSE:AFL); William Wheeler, president for the Americas at MetLife (NYSE:MET); and Glenn Williams, president of Primerica (NYSE:PRI). The panelists’ companies have been using different strategies for reaching middle-market customers.
Primerica has used technology to support agents, but the company assumes most sales will involve having an agent sit face to face with the customer, or talk to a customer on the telephone. Many consumers say they want to buy life insurance and related products through the Internet, but the percentage who actually do so is tiny, the president of Primerica said.
He also said that the Internet is good at conveying information, but that what a company needs to do to close a sale is to give a consumer both targeted information and the motivation to buy. ”I think human intervention is here to stay,” Williams said.