A decade ago a transformational shift occurred in the life insurance industry. Products were being made available online for a consumer self-service approach; one insurer sold its agency distribution; and robo-advisors began to appear. This may signal to any potential financial professionals that the agency force, as a distribution channel, was slowly fading away.
Yet, every day the insurance industry pays out $1.7 billion to families and businesses. That is about 70% of what Social Security pays out every day, according to data from the American Council of Life Insurers.
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Our industry has contributed to security, recovery and well-being for centuries. And we can continue to provide this service for another century by reassuring potential financial professionals that an agency career track is not only viable but necessary. The career agency force is needed now more than ever, and we need to emphasize the critical role human advisors have on a clients’ financial confidence.
Instill Greater Intention in Recruiting and Training
Research from Guardian indicates that Millennials look for advisors who exhibit trustworthiness, knowledge, experience, listening skills, and understand their financial position. Yes, Millennials value tech-driven solutions and dashboards in their financial planning but they also want the face-to-face advisor experience on their road to financial confidence. As younger generations increasingly seek out financial guidance, the agency career track can provide a rewarding profession for incoming talent.
Many recruits believe the only career available in financial services is to become an investment advisor, who in the most limited sense, can only help clients execute investment decisions. They may not be aware that the broader financial professional title affords them the opportunity to provide investments, retirement, insurance and estate planning guidance to build strategies for clients’ unique goals and hold meaningful in-person conversations to form strong relationships. And, working with an established firm provides them with access to extensive product portfolios and in-house experts who can help them create a plan for a client.
We must emphasize learning opportunities across agencies to attract young talent and showcase possible career paths such as working with clients, managing teams and leading an agency. Guardian, for example, offers a protégé contract so new hires can test drive different positions within the company before committing, as well as an internship program to train younger recruits.