A new certification aimed at life and annuity agents to be unveiled next week has huge potential in Asian developing markets, the CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) said Tuesday.
The Life and Annuity Certified Professionals (LACP) certification could interest millions of insurance agents in China, India, Korea and Japan, in addition to agents in other markets.
“When you look at demand for certification, primarily in Asia, LACP is the equivalent of a college degree,” said Kevin Mayeux, CEO of NAIFA in Falls Church, Va.
NAIFA plans to unveil the LACP seal of approval next week at the annual meeting of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) in Orlando. More than 12,000 insurance advisors gather for MDRT’s annual conference every year.
Officials plan to introduce LACP in Chinese, Korean, Hindi and Japanese, Mayeux said.
In Asia, where relatively few people have college degrees compared with developed markets in Europe and North America, LACP-certified agents will be able to show they have specialist skills in life insurance and annuity products.
LACP is also meant to reassure consumers that agents meet the highest ethical standards for professional conduct.
“Consumers and businesses need professional financial advice now more than ever,” said Futurity First Insurance Group Managing Director Aamir Chalisa, who helped shape the LACP curriculum. “Those who earn the NAIFA LACP certification will be among a select group of distinguished professionals whom consumers can trust.”
Within the U.S., fees incurred with earning an LACP run about $500 for NAIFA members and about $700 for non-NAIFA members.
Professional Development in Context
The LACP represents efforts to adopt a more structured formal framework for professional development for insurance agents.
Professional development has been identified as a growth area by NAIFA 20/20, a long-term development blueprint.
Other professional development programs beyond the LACP are under consideration, Mayeux said.
NAIFA is under discussions with professional schools to further develop the LACP, Mayeux said.
There are two ways to obtain the LACP: through a traditional exam or through a professional review process in lieu of an examination.
MDRT participants are invited to visit the NAIFA booth in the ConneXionZone for more information.
More than 70,000 industry professionals around the world hold NAIFA’s broad-based Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation, which itself was revamped recently.
Even with rapidly expanding middle classes and premium growth in Asian areas, many consumers in the two largest markets, India and China, remain underinsured.
In 2015, life insurance penetration in India was estimated at only 3.3 percent of gross domestic product, according to one statistic.
In other Asian markets, Japan, for example, where people regularly live past age 90, longevity challenges that would seem to favor growth in annuities.
In 2015, overall life premium growth almost doubled to near 12 percent compared with premium growth of only 2.5 percent in advanced markets, according to data compiled by Swiss Re Economic Research & Consulting.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]
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