What is going on now is not new: the insurance industry has long looked at the aging of the field force. LIMRA, along with other research firms, continue to point out that the average age of the field force is around 58 or 59 years old. Some studies have shown that the age is reducing. Why? In my opinion it is the final retirement and death of the agents that started as career agents and have fed our industry quite generously with sales for many years. Others feel that the digitalization realities and the regulatory challenges are just too much and they are going to quit early. So, what does this mean to the industry? (and remember you are part of the industry). Let's look…
No matter what happens in Washington, or anywhere else, there is great pressure on the insurance companies to transform the delivery channels into systems that achieve more sales, better sales, compliant sales and more profitable sales. That means lower costs and allowing the consumer to buy when they want, where they want and how they want. This will include online sales of more transactional products like term insurance (Yes, I know that "Big Lou" is already selling term on Sirius and he is on meds too). There is also pressure to develop products that the consumer wants to buy. Not just what is already on the shelf and has been sold for years. Plus, insurance companies are looking to form strategic alliances/partnerships with marketing organizations and banks that will assist them in delivering quality, compliant and suitable sales to the consumer. No one wants to be part of an expose’ on bad sales - with social media, it only takes a minute and you will be defending yourself for the rest of your life. So, where does that leave us... the current delivery system for these products? I think that we are in the "cat bird seat" if we are the ones that are looked at to be full of credibility and integrity. So, where do we start?
As much as I disapprove of the DOL/Fiduciary rule, I believe that it will turn the spotlight on the good guys and girls. The ones that have always placed their clients’ best interests before their own. I think that the requirement to use assessment tools prior to making recommendations will produce more sales, larger sales, cross-selling opportunities, and more quality referrals.
I also think that boutique marketing organizations, like The Ohlson Group, will be the marketers of choice for many insurance companies. Organizations whose people have taken the time to acquire quality designations, have home office experience, and who go for quality over quantity. I believe that carriers will shy away from “spreadsheet” organizations… companies that just market the product of the day.. That is why we are excited about the future. However, the advisor today deserves and needs more. Read on…
Okay, let's talk DOL as it is driving consumer awareness towards best interest principles. The advisor needs training on how to use the new assessment tools,and also needs instruction on how to make it a productive income driver in their practice. If one used the tool only as something they have to do, they will have thrown away a tremendous opportunity to be the retirement go-to person in their community. The Ohlson Group is qualified and ready to lend you a helping hand. We will have you become “digital ready” in your practice. We will assist you with client/prospect dripping, periodic review, presentation and quality content for your clients and prospects each and every month.
All of this is not new. The industry has been looking at this for years, and many chose to ignore it. However, I am very encouraged, based on meetings I have had with some of our partner companies, that they are not looking for an alternative distribution system. Now, they are looking for additional distribution systems. Who can blame them as our ranks start to dwindle, and the consumer has different buying preferences... such as buying online. Well, we are doing that now, we have e-apps and the future has never been brighter for those that seize the opportunities. Give us a call and I think you will then know why agents from coast to coast have always referred to us as... a different experience.
Until next time... good selling!