The joint LIMRA-NAILBA study indicates some BGAs and IMOs are looking for tech-savvy producers to meet the expectations of today’s consumers.
WINDSOR, Conn., Feb. 2, 2022 — More than three quarters (77%) of brokerage general agencies (BGAs) and independent marketing organizations (IMOs) surveyed say their top priority is to expand their network of producers.
The study, conducted by LIMRA and the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA), reveals the pandemic altered what some firms are looking for in an ideal agent or advisor, with nearly 1 in 5 firms saying they are looking for a different profile of producer.
“LIMRA research shows consumer expectations shifted during the pandemic. Clients have become accustomed to virtual meetings and digital interactions with their advisors,” said David Levenson, president and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global. “As a result, many producer groups are looking for financial professionals who are technologically savvy and able to work comfortably with clients in a virtual environment.”
Another challenge when it comes to recruiting is attracting younger producers. Currently the average age of an independent agent is 62. To attract these individuals, it is important to know their priorities when choosing an intermediary.
“The research shows that producers under the age of 40 are looking for strong service and support, a varied portfolio of products and more favorable underwriting,” said Dan LaBert, NAILBA CEO. “Our new study finds more than 70% of intermediaries were very or moderately successful recruiting younger producers to their firms.”
As we emerge from the pandemic, intermediary firms are looking to grow their sales. Two-thirds of intermediaries say increasing sales of their current products is a top priority. Selling to consumers going forward may look a lot different post-pandemic with an increased use of video engagement tools and quicker turnaround times. This will require producers and the firms supporting them to continue or expand their use of digital tools.
“The need for intermediaries to innovate and respond to the changing market demands has never been more important,” said LaBert. “Our study shows BGAs and IMO firms are focused on improving and expanding the sales support and technological tools they provide to their agents and advisors to help them better respond to consumers’ shifting expectations.”
Even after the country emerges from the pandemic, BGAs and IMOs will continue to be the engine that drives independent distribution growth and productivity.
“As a result of the pandemic, more Americans are aware of the need for life insurance and the protection it can provide should the unexpected occur,” says Levenson. “In a relatively short period of time, BGAs and IMOs have become the largest life insurance producer channel in the United States. As such, their growth and productivity have become critically important in helping Americans get the financial guidance they need to protect the ones they love.”
Methodology: In September 2021, LIMRA and NAILBA surveyed 60 BGAs and IMOs, more than 400 independent life insurance and health producers and conducted eight interviews with senior executives from BGAs and IMOs to better understand the current state and future outlook of brokerage distribution.
Serving the industry since 1916, LIMRA helps to advance the financial services industry by empowering nearly 700 financial services companies in 53 countries with knowledge, insights, connections, and solutions. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.
The National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) is the premiere insurance industry organization promoting financial security and consumer choice through the use of independent brokerage distribution. NAILBA serves as the national association of life, health and annuity insurance distributors. For more information visit www.nailba.org.