Staying On Top of Product Offerings in a Changing Marketplace

Recent headlines tell it all — many major insurance carriers are re-pricing their product lines, and in some cases, withdrawing products from the market to focus on key strengths or areas of specialty. It is common knowledge that fewer carriers are maintaining a generalist strategy and attempting to be all things to all people. They are paring down and changing their business strategies to focus on what they do best. The specialist approach makes sense. What do some of these recent changes mean to agents and advisors who may be wondering what to do and who to turn to? Plenty.

Start reading the tea leaves. By that, I mean look at the trends and try to envision how your business may be impacted six months to a year from now. Think about what your clients are going to need in terms of products and services. Going further, what products will be available to address your clients’ needs? How will you position these products? Will more changes result in the need for you to develop new carrier relationships, find new products, have additional training and make adjustments to your sales process? Take the implications of prevailing low interest rates into consideration; they can affect product design.

Where will you be looking to find new opportunities and understand consumer trends? To get there, you may need to check your compass points and follow a new course.

Do your homework

Are you aware of the product resources your clients may want?

  • Be open to more possibilities as the economy continues to dictate many of the business decisions corporations are making.
  • Maintain communication with your clients to assure them you are listening and watching out for their interests.
  • Look at alternative solutions to your clients’ product needs.

Expand your current knowledge base

I suggest you pay close attention to the industry changes that are occurring; the sand is shifting beneath your feet at an increasing rate. Take advantage of some of the excellent product and sales training programs providers offer agents and advisors. Through further education, you can become more familiar with a wider range of specialty products — be they life insurance, annuities, long-term care insurance, or property and casualty insurance — for your clients.

This is the time to learn more about what consumers need through the extensive research insurers conduct to learn more about customer mindsets, needs and preferences. Our customer insights leader is our beacon of light — shining new flashes of compelling information that help us relate to our customers’ needs and tailor plans and products to changing lifestyles, with detailed emphasis on age, income and other demographics.

Think of your clients

It is important to keep in mind that as an agent or advisor, you should be committed to finding the right solutions for your client.

Remember, insurance products are not one-size-fits-all. The more you know about a variety of products from various carriers, the better you will be able to compare and contrast these products and their benefits to your clients.

Steer the ship

You are in control of this journey. While you may find there are patches of rough water, you have the tools, equipment and the know-how to stay your course and reach your safe harbor.

by Anthony Vossenberg for LifeHealthPro.com   Anthony Vossenberg is the senior vice president of Life & Annuities at Genworth Financial.

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