By Cyril Tuohy
Insurance agencies stand a much better chance of snagging that future Million Dollar Round Table inductee if they offer sales training, career advancement potential, retirement savings plans, employer-provided sales leads and employer-provided health insurance benefits — in that order — according to a new survey.
The survey by Combined Insurance, a provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health and life insurance, asked more than 400 new sales agents to rank the importance of specific factors in their employment search.
Sales training was most important (96.7 percent), followed by career advancement potential (87.2 percent), a retirement plan (83.7 percent), employer-provided leads (83.2 percent) and health benefits (79.5 percent), the survey found.
James Coleman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Combined Insurance, called the survey results “very insightful.”
“In fact, the data provided by our new recruits can be helpful for any sales organization looking to power up its sales force, because it gives a better understanding of what job hunters are looking for — whether it is a first job, an upward move, or a career change,” Coleman said in a statement.
Recruiting new agents and retaining mid-career agents, which has been an issue facing the insurance distribution world for some time, is looming even larger as sales veterans retire along with their baby boomer peers.
For many years now, new agents have not replaced departing ones at a fast enough pace to generate net gains as young candidates pass up insurance sales for other fields perceived to be more lucrative or exciting.
Financial services companies are expected to shed as many as 25,000 securities-licensed financial advisors in the next four years, to a projected 280,000 in 2017 according to a recent report by Cerulli Associates.
Carriers are always on the lookout for skilled agents and several big companies have recently launched aggressive recruiting goals. Northwestern Mutual is looking to hire as many as 200 new financial advisors every year over the next decade, according to the company.
Securian Financial Group has decided to focus its recruitment and expansion efforts on nine markets, the company said.
The new hires surveyed by Combined Insurance ranged in age from their 20s to their 50s, with the majority of agents participating in the survey having educations that went beyond high school, the company said.
Combined Insurance is part of the ACE Group of Companies.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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