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Takeaways from the 2011 Distribution Conference organized by LIMRA

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The 2011 Distribution Conference organized by LIMRA in Orlando highlighted a few important trends surrounding consumers, sales professionals, advisors, product development and regulations. All the keynotes focused on the ‘How To’s’ to handle the various transformations seen in the marketplace and interestingly, most were connected to customer service and sales process improvement.

In a nutshell, life insurers need to focus on these primary areas:

On-boarding process: We’ve seen a big focus on how to get New Financial Representatives (NFR) producing more quickly and the need for insurers to keep them engaged and successful. By implementing a healthy on-boarding system, insurance organizations can ensure a pleasant experience for NFR’s that not only makes them move into the sales cycle quickly, but also encourages loyalty.

Customer relationships and social media: Several of the keynote sessions focused on the reduced ownership of life insurance in the U.S. and how these plans are still sold most effectively through relationships. With the rapid expansion of social media into the daily lives of consumers, there is a clear opportunity here for the industry to do more to connect with people in the medium that they prefer.

Trustworthy customer service: There was also significant emphasis on reconnecting with consumers who have been through trying economic times and are looking for people and organizations they can trust. New technology can play a role here, but as was expressed in the Disney Institute presentation, sometimes the best approach is a return to basics of setting expectations properly and meeting them when the time comes.

Technology to support sales: Prominence was also given to the need to pay closer attention on the changing life insurance producer demographics. As new salespeople are brought into the profession, they bring with them a preference for a new way of working. Insurers and agencies would do well to invest in tools and processes that support this transformation rather than curbing the instincts of new employees to suit existing, but soon to be obsolete, processes.

There was also a very uplifting speech by Jeff Noel from the Disney Institute who spoke of the many challenges the Walt Disney Company have had and how they grew stronger through even the most turbulent experiences because of their focus on core values of customer retention, employee engagement and brand relationship. This was well positioned considering the state of the economy.

What do you think about these four key topics? Please comment to share your thoughts on these points or add your own takeaways.



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