Brokerage Business Looking Bullish In 2020 And Beyond
As we enter a new decade, I’m optimistic about our great industry and excited to be playing a key role with a company that is focused on supporting financial professionals with their life insurance business. That includes our life brokerage team that I am very proud to be part of at Securian Financial.
Consolidation, especially within both independent marketing organizations (IMOs) and brokerage general agencies (BGAs), has been a factor that appears to be increasing as we enter 2020.
Leveraging best practices, tools and distribution efforts is already a driver for greater success and will only grow stronger. A great example is the formation of LIBRA (LifeMark and BRAMCO merger), with overall life sales that are more than 20 percent of total independent life sales.1
Securian Financial’s IMO leadership alliances are enabling us to most effectively grow sales top-down and across their organizations. The team I am part of at Securian Financial is focused on the IMOs and their member BGAs as our best relationships.
Primary challenge for our industry
Life insurance relevance continues to be a challenge we all face every day. The importance of life insurance, especially for the protection of families, is vital.
At the same time, industry groups report that more than 50 million families2 have little or no life insurance. Our challenge is to close the U.S. coverage gap by leading and collaborating with IMO/BGAs and their financial professionals. How we help them prospect, market and sell life insurance remains a top priority for 2020 and beyond.
Since 2017 I’ve served in a leadership role (along with Bill Shelow) within the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU) Future of the Industry working group. In 2018 our group conducted a study to increase our understanding about how to increase life insurance relevance.
Among many key solutions is our group’s shared effort to maximize the number of financial professionals who make life insurance part of their practice. Collaborating with IMOs and BGAs to reach more financial professionals is of paramount importance.
The sheer size of the U.S. coverage gap alone is proof that we need to continue our efforts to grow distribution. Plus we need to support all financial professionals with tools, capabilities and marketing materials that simplify the sales process and help them tell the life insurance story.
The National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) conference, annual IMO meetings and Securian Financial’s wholesaling efforts are all in alignment with this challenge and helping to move the dial. Closing the coverage gap will continue well beyond 2020–and will be an important north star for all of us to follow.
Effects of industry regulations
Regulation is a constant for all of us. A best practice I observe is the way carriers, IMOs and BGAs deal proactively with whatever new regulations come along. Getting ahead of the procedural changes and over communicating across our system helps Securian Financial stay ahead of the game. It is valuable for all of us to be mindful of how these regulations are intended to help our industry from a risk and customer experience perspective.
There are regulatory changes that unintentionally do not create positive outcomes. Our participation and support for AALU, NAILBA and all other industry groups is crucial. I have personally lobbied legislators and regulators to reduce unnecessary friction within our marketplace and plan for that to continue.
This is a time for increased collaboration across our industry to make continual improvements. We can compete with product, marketing, underwriting, service and capabilities–but collaborate in the areas where having one voice makes a critical difference.
How Securian Financial treats policyholders
Our policyholder treatment story as a highly rated company3 makes us a great choice for financial professionals who want to ensure their clients purchasing term insurance will have access to great benefits.
Our products are not only becoming known for providing strong performance–but for addressing policyholder needs. We also strive to make many product enhancements available to both existing and new policyholders whenever possible.
In 2019 we launched a new process for applying for our term products on the iPipeline® platform–with more platforms coming in 2020 and beyond. In addition, our WriteFit4 program is now heralded for having one of the highest acceleration rates in the industry (currently 65 percent).5
Conversion privileges have lessened industry-wide over the last five years. But at Securian Financial, our exceptional conversion privileges remain a powerful advantage–and we believe is what’s best for long-term customer value.
While we’ve been an industry leader for indexed universal life (IUL) accumulation products, we did not follow the competition down the high-fee, large multiplier index pathway. We’re proud of our efforts to maintain strong integrity and due diligence with how our products are illustrated and sold.
Solutions that address chronic illness
In today’s world, addressing concerns about the rising cost of care in retirement requires an innovative approach. We work with our distribution colleagues to continuously refine the ways we support them to help financial professionals identify and serve these needs.
One way we accomplish this is through our term portfolio’s Chronic Illness Conversion Agreement, which provides clients the ability to add chronic illness coverage without additional underwriting at the time of conversion. Providing coverage that can evolve to meet changing client needs is often the difference between simply executing a transaction and building a long-lasting relationship.
How else Securian Financial stands apart
Securian Financial is U.S.-based, with a mutual company structure, headquartered in St. Paul, MN. We strive to operate our life insurance business with strength and integrity and, because of our structure, we aren’t pressured to deliver short-term returns to shareholders. Instead, we can focus on serving the long-term needs of our customers and supporting the professionals who serve them.
Serving the needs of all those who distribute and sell our products remains a top priority. We look forward to the new decade and our opportunity to grow life insurance sales with financial professionals and our Securian Financial distribution colleagues. [CA]
- Based on LIBRA sales data as of September 2019.
- 2018 Insurance Barometer study, Life Happens and LIMRA
- All ratings information as of March 2019. Securian Financial Group, Inc., is a part of an insurance company holding group. These ratings are assigned to the following Securian Financial Group member companies: Minnesota Life Insurance Company and Securian Life Insurance Company.
For more information about the rating agencies and to see where our ratings rank compared to other ratings, please see our website at securian.com/ratings.
- WriteFit and WriteFit Express are available under our WriteFit Underwriting™ program. These statistics only apply to WriteFit and are based on Securian Finanical’s experience with WriteFit and traditional underwriting. WriteFit is available for eligible clients.
- As of September 1, 2019. This statistic only applies to WriteFit and is based on Securian Financial’s experience with WriteFit and traditional underwriting.
The views expressed here are Chuck Anderson’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Securian Financial.
Please keep in mind that the primary reason to purchase a life insurance product is the death benefit.
Life insurance products contain fees, such as mortality and expense charges (which may increase over time), and may contain restrictions, such as surrender periods.
Additional agreements may be available. Agreements may be subject to additional costs and restrictions. Agreements may not be available in all states or may exist under a different name in various states and may not be available in combination with other agreements.
These materials are for informational and educational purposes only and are not designed, or intended, to be applicable to any person’s individual circumstances. It should not be considered investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation that anyone engage in (or refrain from) a particular course of action. Securian Financial Group, and its affiliates, have a financial interest in the sale of their products.
Insurance products are issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company in all states except New York. In New York, products are issued by Securian Life Insurance Company, a New York authorized insurer. Minnesota Life is not an authorized New York insurer and does not do insurance business in New York. Both companies are headquartered in St. Paul, MN. Product availability and features may vary by state. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies or contracts it issues.
Securian Financial is the marketing name for Securian Financial Group, Inc., and its affiliates. Minnesota Life Insurance Company and Securian Life Insurance Company are affiliates of Securian Financial Group, Inc.