WINDSOR, Conn., Oct. 28, 2010 — This week, Robert Kerzner, CLU, ChFC, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, challenged more than 450 senior insurance executives to find new ways to adapt their product design, underwriting and distribution models in order to advance the life insurance industry.
"Many of the fundamentals of our business are out of balance," declared Kerzner. "In the animal kingdom, failure to adapt means extinction. In the same way, companies need to significantly transform their thinking and adapt their business models in order to remain competitive."
His remarks, given at the 2010 LIMRA Annual Conference in Washington DC, emphasized the historical precedent of companies in many different fields which, because they failed to adapt their business models, became obsolete. While those which had the foresight to identify weaknesses and as a result, innovate and change, often were the winners.
Kerzner noted the inversion of the risk/reward ratio that has developed in this new business environment, and its impact on insurers. He outlined factors such as the low interest rate climate, the legislative and regulatory environment, unfavorable interest spreads, and higher operating costs that have led to greater risks for companies with potentially diminished rewards. Kerzner noted that regulators worldwide were changing capital requirements and accounting rules, leaving many companies with a capital conundrum of how best to deploy capital and what levels of capital to maintain. He predicted M&A activity would intensify.
"We have not added adequate new distribution," added Kerzner. "We need to make a quantum leap forward — harnessing technology and finding innovative ways to get our products in front of more Americans."
Recent LIMRA research found that half of U.S. households (58 million) believe they need more life insurance; but 8 in 10 households currently do not have a personal life insurance agent or broker to turn and most of them say they never did. With life insurance ownership at a 50-year low, Kerzner suggested that companies employ technological solutions to better reach this audience.
The conference theme "Change, Adapt, Advance!" focuses on what organizations need to do to successfully transition to the new business environment and lead to new and sustainable growth. This event provides a unique opportunity for attendees to share their experience and knowledge with their colleagues and counterparts and gain strategic insights from industry experts on issues like distribution, product development, regulation and emerging markets.
Nearly 450 senior leaders from life insurance and financial services companies worldwide attended the industries' most preeminent meeting.
LIMRA is a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization that helps more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.