ORLANDO -- Could the future of life insurance hinge on selling grandparents policies allowing them to take money out to pay for genome testing on newborn grandchildren?
It could, said Robert Kerzner, CEO of LIMRA/LOMA. The point is that insurers need to think in those terms if they want to survive, he added.
"Stretch your thinking," Kerzner said. "It's not about where we've been. It's about where we're going."
Several insurers already are adapting creatively to meet market needs, Kerzner said, delivering his annual state of the industry speech at the Life Insurance Conference. Hybrid life-medical policies are one example of that creative adaptation.
Baby boomers are more afraid of Alzheimer's disease than anything else, Kerzner said. Alzheimer's cases are expected to triple in the next few decades. He cited Bankers Life for its life policy that includes a rider covering Alzheimer's as well as seven other critical conditions.
Whatever products insurers come up with, they must target baby boomers, Kerzner said.
"The boomers and the retirees - they got the money, honey," he said. "What are you going to sell them?"
Kerzner also took on some worrisome trends affecting the industry. Not all of them are accurate, he said.
For example, he cited the growth of robo-advice and do-it-yourself insuring.
Although it is a trend, surveys show that 68 percent of wealthy investors want a hybrid of automation and live advice. And nearly twice as many respondents who work with an advisor say they are prepared for retirement.
Some trends are accurate, Kerzner conceded. Vanguard took in as much investment as the next 19 companies combined in 2016. The Department of Labor fiduciary rule is not going anywhere, Kerzner said.
More accurately, the underlying fiduciary concept isn't going anywhere. The idea has taken root with consumers, he said.
"We cannot turn back the hands of time and we better start educating our producers," Kerzner said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at email@example.com.
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