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Independent financial professionals work with many companies but place business with only about half of them.  How they decide which company gets more business depends on the value proposition a company offers.

LIMRA and National Underwriter recently surveyed nearly 1,000 independent financial professionals consisting of independent agents, registered representatives of independent broker-dealers and independent financial advisors.  

Survey respondents cited two key reasons for why they would places business with one carrier over another: the company's ability to meet client needs and ease of doing business. 

When companies offer similar products and services, price and compensation can strongly influence an advisor's short-term decision in selecting a carrier.  By contrast, companies that pay attention to the services most valued by independents can distinguish themselves and establish a long-term relationship with the advisor. 

Respondents listed the top services they receive from their contracted companies (see chart) and 84 percent said new-business processing support was the most important service they received.  When advisors were also asked if they are receiving enough of this service only 74 percent expressed satisfaction with the amount of support they are receiving in new-business processing.  

Marketing services and technology management are also highly valued by independent advisors but only half area satisfied with the support in these two areas.

This emphasis on services suggests that when product offerings, pricing and compensation are similar among carriers, the companies that stand out and gain increasing business with independents are the ones paying attention to the value proposition.

Participants in the study indicated that one half of their business mix is life insurance and annuities.  From a demographic standpoint 84 percent of the participants are male.  Baby Boomers make up 58 percent of the group and Gen Y makes up just 3 percent of respondents. 

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Catherine Theroux

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