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For 30 years, LIMRA MarketFacts has been the premier publication for financial services executives worldwide. Our mission is to bring the latest, most pertinent industry information to our readership — whether it is derived from industry research, company best practices, or insightful thought leadership. LIMRA MarketFacts offers unmatched content by inviting authorship from representatives of companies in LIMRA’s vast member roster, as well as from LIMRA’s internal subject matter experts and global thought leaders impacting the financial services arena.

Why is LIMRA MarketFacts different from other industry trade publications? Because we concentrate on developing in-depth, insightful articles devoted to the critical issues of the day impacting financial services industry decision-makers. By blending exclusive perspectives from LIMRA’s renowned research team and marketing experts with the industry’s top thought leadership, LIMRA MarketFacts provides the latest information on how companies can maximize their marketing and distribution effectiveness in an ever-evolving environment.

In these turbulent times, it is imperative that you have access to the best thinking on the forces driving change in the financial services industry. LIMRA MarketFacts is the vehicle that industry executives turn to most for LIMRA’s longstanding brand in research excellence.

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Winter 2008

LIMRA MarketFacts

Winter, 2008

Table of Contents
by Mary M. Art, LIMRA

Keeping pace with technology has become a challenge in our ever-changing times. Companies seek to market their products more effectively and build relationships through superior service. Technology — and, most specifically, online services — can offer another dimension of service with the potential to save money and build better carrier-customer relationships. Developing customer Web sites presents carriers with a delicate balance between overall benefit plan cost control and good customer service.

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by Steven Brown; Polly A. Painter Eggers, LIMRA

If recruiting top talent for your company's sales force is a main objective, be forewarned: Appealing to recent college graduates and/or currently employed job seekers is a lot tougher task than it used to be. The fierce competition is making it even more difficult. The potential for unlimited income, flexible work hours, and work autonomy are some of the most appealing features currently in the offering. But, with so many companies trying to lure talent with those benefits, distinguishing oneself from the field becomes a more complex proposition. How can life insurance companies compete?

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by Elizabeth H. Schwarz, ACS, LLIF, LIMRA

The Internet has quickly become a valuable resource in the information-seeking process for consumers looking for information about life insurance. One way to do that is through search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to demonstrate to the search engines that your site content is the most relevant and important to searchers' needs.

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by Malcolm C. McCulloch, Ph.D., LIMRA and LOMA

Ask a person on the street if he or she would like to work as a customer service representative in a call center. It's a safe bet the response will not be neutral. It may be something like: "No way! Call centers are run like sweatshops. All you do is crank through call after call and bug people about something they don't want to buy. Yuck!" In today's business lingo, this is a knee-jerk reaction to a "job brand." It may not be fair or true. But you need to recognize its existence. Ignore it at your recruiting peril.

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by Kim O'Brien

The word "suitability" is something used as if it were a tem or art or a word that has a precise, agreed-upon meaning. Suitability is not a term of art, it is the art of determining the needs and desires of the consumer and finding a product or products that will meet them.

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by Polly A. Painter Eggers, LIMRA

As costs for retirement, health care, and education continue to rise, consumers are gradually being asked to take on more of the responsibility for making critical decisions that may have serious life and death consequences on their futures. Efforts to reconcile these growing financial demands on consumers and companies alike remain disjointed in an environment where there's an increasing "yo-yo" mentality. Namely, you're on your own.

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by Nancy S. Muise, CLU, LIMRA

Over the past several years, the product development process and speed-to-market initiatives have become important in meeting corporate strategic goals. During early 2007 LIMRA conducted a study that examines the current individual life insurance product development process: the components of the process, the various organizational structures supporting product development, the time required to bring products to market, and recent changes in the overall approach to product development. This article presents the findings.

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by Bill Bishbop, Bishop Information Group, Inc.

When it comes to branding, financial services companies often do the same thing. To the untrained eye, one financial advisor looks the same as all the rest of the advisors out there. And from the perspective of the consumer, they are all penguins. That's why it's so important for financial advisors who want to make a breakthrough in their business to brand and package - something new, better, and different.

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by Dan Veto, Age Wave

By now, many have come to accept the premise that the financial services industry has an unprecedented opportunity to both "do good for their customers" and "do good for themselves" by delivering against the phenomena broadly preferred to as "the retirement opportunity."

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by Nicola E. Moss, ASA, MAAA, LIMRA

One of the most significant changes in the financial services sector over the past few years has been the appearance and development of bancassurance. Banking institutions and insurance companies have found bancassurance to be an attractive, and often profitable, complement to their existing activities. The successes demonstrated by various European bancassurance operations have attracted the attention of the financial services sector and further new operations are being set up regularly.

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Mary-Beth Selby


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