Industry Leader Forum: Transamerica Life Insurance Company
Life insurance is no longer simply about insuring lives. It is about ensuring dreams. In the aftermath of the recession and an economy still in turmoil, customers have seen their current and future prosperity threatened in unprecedented ways. Savings and retirement accounts have been depleted with no clear prospect of how or if those losses can be regained. The future of social support programs and government financial programs is murky and uncertain.
Consumer confidence in this economic recovery is still low, and research shows that many Americans fear that future generations will not have some of the same opportunities that they have enjoyed. Yet clients still want to provide a legacy for their children, grandchildren and loved ones.
The Opportunity. Despite these challenging times, we in the insurance industry have an enormous opportunity to reverse the decades-old sales decline. Life insurance sales are at a 50-year low. Only 44 percent of U.S. households have individual life insurance coverage, and of those that do, 50 percent admit they don’t believe they have enough. Today, we are seeing an increasing need and growing demand for the very products that can offer the solutions consumers want to help ensure the dreams they have for their children and grandchildren.
In addition, the consumer marketplace is extremely risk averse. Millions of Americans who were responsible for managing their 401(k)s and mutual funds saw their financial futures shrink significantly during the recession. Looking to financial experts for direction or insight resulted in confusion and conflicting opinions. Carriers and brokers alike can seize the opportunity now to promote how life insurance shoulders the risk—rather than the policyowner—and provides a death benefit when individuals and families need it most.
Offering Guarantees, Flexibility and Control. More people than ever are looking for guarantees in this turbulent environment. However, they also want the freedom and flexibility to be able to respond to changing conditions, and they want to have control over the outcome. Ironically, those very qualities of guarantees, flexibility and control are the key elements of life insurance.
Focus on the Customer. There’s an old saw that says, “Life insurance isn’t bought. It’s sold.” Successful insurance brokers are customer-centric. They understand what keeps clients awake at night; and what worries and fears haunt their dreams for the future. These successful brokers can then identify a client’s needs and fears and demonstrate how today’s competitive life insurance products can provide the very qualities of relief and peace of mind that clients are seeking. Dreams for the future security of family and loved ones can be realized. Legacies can be created and passed along. Uncertainty can be replaced by assurance and security.
Turbulence = Opportunity. These times are turbulent for customers and carriers. However, understanding the conditions and challenges faced by individuals and families gives brokers the perfect opportunity to highlight the value of life insurance, which may be a client’s answer to ensuring the dreams of tomorrow. [JMF]
January 2012 Issue of Brokerworld Magazine. Author’s Bio James Martin “Marty” Flewellen President, Transamerica Life & Protection Brokerage Group