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Attracting the future producer: millennials

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Millennials are a hot topic in the insurance industry. How do we reach them and what do they want? How can we best serve their needs as clients?

But what about millennial advisors? Young agents are the key to the industry’s future, especially as an increasing number of established agents begin to contemplate their own retirement and the succession of their business.

Related: A look at the coming ‘great wealth transfer’

Often, agents come into the insurance business by way of a family connection, or in many cases as a second career. But is the industry doing enough to reach out and attract millennial advisors?

Michelle DeClerck, CMP, of Conference Event Management, recently said that regulatory changes, along with a growing advisor population reaching retirement age, creates a critical situation for the industry to fill its ranks with young advisors. DeClerck offered a preview of a session she will lead about this topic at the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) 35th annual conference this week in Dallas.

LifeHealthPro: Why is it important to implement strategies to retain producers? 

Michelle DeClerck: With the aging top producer and their looming departure from the industry, it is essential we find ways to partner with our clients to help them retain the rest of their producers. Given the current regulatory changes, a departure of those of retirement age, as well the culmination of other agents who might be considering career moves, would be detrimental to the success of any sales organization.  

LHP: What are some examples of retention strategies that work?

MD: With the pending DOL changes, our clients have the impact of a potential loss of allegiance with producers. It’s essential they stay in front of their top producers now more than ever and create opportunities to gather face-to-face at events. It’s essential that at these events, they take on new engagement strategies that appeal to all generations. We’re excited to demonstrate some of these during our session — a two-for-one on our topic. 

The more seasoned leaders also need to learn as much as they can about millennials and integrate new strategies, as much as they may be opposed to doing so, in order to be able to have any serious future that drives profitability. 

Michelle DeClerck

LHP: Why are millennial producers especially important to the industry?

MD: Millennials are the untapped group that hasn’t been recruited with the same aggressiveness as other generations. This creates an opportunity as millennials love what this industry provides in flexibility, freedom and the ability to create their own income by their hard work. If we don’t bring in more producers before all the baby boomers start retiring, a sales organization can’t expect to hit their sales goals.  

LHP: How is it different to attract and retain millennials than it is to attract and retain older producers?

MD: Millennials are known for needing to receive constant feedback. They need clear direction on expectations and they want to make a difference in their communities. For those organizations that can provide someone to mentor them, they can thrive in this environment. 

The challenge becomes that millennials make up their mind much quicker on jumping ship and actually do so, whereas the older generations may be less assertive in making a career move and be a bit more content to stay with their current organization. The older producer also may be content to work less, sell less and have more free time, despite a decline in income.  As they continue to age and enjoy even more downtime, the broker-dealers, IMOs and carriers are going to all be affected.

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