Question: Name an area where the life and annuity insurance industry will find its new agents and advisors going forward, and why?
“I think you’ll find them when you go online. It’s a slow moving industry, that’s true. But look at LinkedIn. It has people looking for jobs online, and a lot of support for that. I think that if people want to sell online, they will look for jobs online too. The future jobs will be less about place, not so much face-to-face. We are seeing people who telecommute now; it doesn’t matter where they are. Think about Facebook and the level of relationships that goes on there. People are getting more personal in the online environment, and some of them are more comfortable disclosing sensitive information (needed for a life insurance sale) if they are online than if face-to-face. The distance helps them feel comfortable doing that. People who are not using the social side of the online environment to sell life insurance will be missing out on sales.”
—Roger Sambrook, user experience researcher, Bloomington, Ill.
“Probably we will find them from the places where we’ve been trying to find them for years and years — that is, from the large financial institutions such as broker-dealers, banks and wirehouses. That will happen when we make the sales process easier and faster and when they know they can still get access to a good product to sell. The industry is circling around this now, by looking into ways to make greater use of data to improve the process. If the process gets easier, then the huge unmet life insurance need will lessen, because the advisors will be spending less time trying to get people to buy, and the consumers will be saving time, too.”
—Steve Finch, executive vice president-chief financial officer, John Hancock, Boston
“College recruiting is where we will find them. Young people who are looking at the market upsets and economic challenges of the last decade are concerned about their own financial security. Because of that, many will be more open to insurance sales as a career opportunity. Some sales will occur online, but there will always be a role for agents in sales of complex products and to meet complex needs in the business market and in estate planning.”
--Sherri Lindenberg, senior vice president-marketing, Crump Life Insurance Services, Roseland, N.J.