Michael Bryant, in a 2016 interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg) Michael Bryant, in a 2016 interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

The death of Kobe Bryant may have been a brief but powerful life insurance awareness event, according to Brian Greenberg.

Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and others died in a helicopter crash  in Calabasas California, Jan. 26.

(Related: Kobe Bryant’s Work Ethic)

Greenberg, the chief executive officer of True Blue Life Insurance, a web-based life insurance broker, wrote in a commentary that news of Bryant’s death had a dramatic effect on use of the firm’s website.

“The number of applications began to increase on the day of the crash, even before the names or numbers of victims were known,” Greenberg said.

Application activity was up 17% on Sunday, the day of the crash; up 29%, Monday; and then up about 50% from Tuesday through Thursday.

Application volume fell back to normal on the Friday after the crash.

Greenberg said Bryant’s death came up often in discussions with the applicants.

In other insurance distribution news:

Unum says it will provide more support for brokers and customers in the small business market, by adding small business consultants who will focus on employers with fewer than 50 employees.

Unum is starting to add the consultants this quarter, and it says it will roll out the program in the rest of the country by the end of the year.

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company says Teresa Fitzgerald, the managing partner at its Chicago agency, has led a relaunch of the agency.

Fitzgerald has changed the name of the agency to Penn Mutual Midwest Wealth Strategies, from Lakeshore Wealth Strategies.

Barnum Financial Group has opened offices in 10 Grand Central Building, in New York, close to the Grand Central Terminal train station.

About 58 Barnum financial professionals and staff members will work in the new office.

Barnum’s headquarters offices are still in Shelton, Connecticut. The financial planning firm has relationships with about 250,000 clients.

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