Is This A Truce In The Distribution Demographic War?
A common observation during the pandemic is that it was no place for older people, at least not in the province of life insurance sales.
But we saw some glimmers of a truce in the war of the demographics. It is true that younger agents tend to have a greater facility for tech, however they also did not have a book of clients to fall back on. Although older agents might not have the same facility for tech, they also have experience that help guide younger colleagues, said John Carroll, corporate vice president, member relations and sales, LIMRA, LOMA & LL Global.
“Firms were surprised, and happily surprised, that their more senior, more established folks were helping the newer people,” Carroll said. “They didn't have to; they don't have to; they weren't forced to. They know how hard it can be. They've been around for a while, they understood how to establish relationships, and were willingly helping their newer colleagues, which I think was a nice outcome of this.“
That is one of the themes Carroll expects to speak about today in the session Executive Perspective: Changing Distribution Strategies. On the panel are: Tim Gerend, Executive Vice President & Chief Distribution Officer, Northwestern Mutual; Jennifer Torneden, Senior Vice President, Distribution & Strategic Growth, Legal and General; and Scott Woodman, Vice President, Distribution, Sun Life Financial Distributors.
Another misperception revolves around recruiting, that it is a tough time to get people interested and signed up for insurance sales.
“Recruiting is perking up a bit,” Carroll said. “Any time you have economic trouble, you find people, more people willing to get into sales.”
'A Big Thing'
Once younger people get into the business, they might be pleasantly surprised that the industry can align with their values.
“The pandemic has shown the real social value of this business,” Carroll said. “For younger people, that's a that's a big thing, looking at, ‘Is there a purpose to what I'm doing? Is there value to my firm?”
It is imperative that the industry to show its value, Carroll said, citing an Insurance Information Institute statistic of the hundreds of billions of dollars paid in benefits.
Another surprising draw for younger people is technology. The life insurance industry has been slow to adopt technology, but the pandemic accelerated change.
“It is actually pretty interesting and dynamic place in terms of what's happening around technology and digital,” Carroll said. “You've heard it 1,000 times, probably, which is we did in 10 months what probably would have taken 10 years.”
Put all together, the life insurance industry can be an enticing draw for younger workers.
“It is people related, and there's real dynamic technology and digitization taking place,” Carroll said. “I think it's pretty interesting, but it's incumbent on the industry to get people to understand that.”
Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines. He was also vice president of communications for an insurance agents’ association. Steve can be reached at [email protected].
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