Industry Leader Forum: National Life Group

One of the primary keys to success in life is a positive attitude. A positive attitude is contagious. People who radiate positive energy can—just by their presence—make a difference in the morale and productivity of those around them.
As I look around today and look ahead to 2012 I am concerned by how many people have negative attitudes about the future. It is hard not to.
The uncertainty around the economy is unsettling enough. This is a time like no other. A sound bite in Europe now sends our markets into a tailspin. The consumer confidence index is at historically low levels. Stories fill newspapers and cable broadcasts about the low personal savings rate in our country, and people hear unending doubts voiced as to whether Social Security will be there down the road.
The simple truth is that many, many people are not financially prepared for retirement.
And this is where we come in. We offer what people want: a safe and secure haven in unpredictable times.
Dirk Kempthorne, the president of the American Council of Life Insurers, cites a statistic that shows the leading role that our industry plays in helping people. He notes that in 2010 Social Security paid out $700 billion—or about $1.9 billion every day. The life insurance industry, he says, pays out, on average, $1.5 billion every day. That’s pretty incredible. And very impressive.
In these uncertain times, we must work even harder to educate people about how our products can help them prepare for the future. We need to let consumers know about the flexibility our financial products can provide in a manner that is straightforward. Our products can be complicated. We can, however, present them in a way that makes sense to meet people’s needs—needs they have right now.
With retirement and health care costs topping the lists of Americans’ worries, we have solutions that not only protect their loved ones financially, but can address both concerns. Using life insurance as a component of a diversified portfolio and tapping the living benefits available are two options few Americans know about.
Our industry is complicated, and with the global challenges we’ve experienced over the past few months, it seems to have become even more complex. That’s why we have an obligation to our agents and customers to do everything we can to make it easier to do business.
Recently at National Life Group we launched a new website to make it simple for our agents to find the information they need every day in a matter of seconds. Pending business, outstanding requirements, training and incentive opportunities are all right there once they log on. Now our agents can spend more time selling rather than tracking down information.
Another way we’re working to make it easier for agents to sell is through our training portal called NLGroupU. This resource includes product and sales solution training through streaming video, podcasts, white papers, pre-approved PowerPoint decks and more. It is training on demand. Agents can get the information they want, when they want, how they want.
We need to make it easier for consumers, too. For example, we updated our consumer marketing material to be much less technical and much more relevant through the use of case studies and graphics that clearly illustrate how our products can potentially help consumers.
The easier we make it for the field to sell our products and for consumers to buy them, the better off we all are.
At the heart of our message, however, must be our ability to deliver on our promises—over the long term. That’s our competitive edge in today’s world of uncertainty. We have an incredible and impressive track record. Since the chartering of National Life Insurance Company in 1848 we have delivered on our promises through the Civil War, the Crash of 1929, the Great Depression and both world wars.
The story of Iole Carusi shows the reach and depth of that commitment. Miss Carusi bought a National Life policy on October 12, 1929, just three weeks before the nation’s historic stock market crash. She was a 19-year-old sales clerk at a grocery store when she decided to protect her financial future by purchasing life insurance. Her agent was a trusted family friend.
In December 2010, her eyes still bright and her smile strong, she turned 100 years old. Our relationship with her has spanned more than 80 years. Like the agent who first sold Miss Carusi her policy, National Life has proven to be a trusted friend through the best and worst of times.
Predictability in an unpredictable world. Our industry offers it. People need it. Now more than ever. [MA]

January 2012 Issue of Brokerworld Magazine. Author’s Bio Mehran  Assadi President and Chief Executive Officer, National Life Group

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