If you are searching for a new marketing direction for your insurance practice, prospecting in the female marketplace could be a treasure trove. Women-owned businesses contribute nearly $3 trillion to our national economy, and create or maintain 23 million jobs, according to new research conducted by the Center for Women's Business Research and funded by the National Women's Business Council and Wal-Mart. If women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, ahead of several countries including France, the United Kingdom, and Italy.
Statistically, there may never be a more opportune time for serious development within this market segment. The insurance and financial planning community has underserved this large part of the workforce. Nearly one-in-four families, or more than 8.3 million, is headed by a single mother caring for her own children younger than 18. Yet, these women do not receive the same retirement and protection planning consideration as their male counterparts, even though their risks are much greater since they have no spouse to help care for the family.
Conducted by the SBA Office of Advocacy and published August 2006, a survey entitled "Women in Business: A Demographic Review of Women's Business Ownership" indicates that women constitute more than 51 percent of the American population, and nearly 47 percent of the labor force (2004). More than 36.8 percent of the female labor force were in professional occupations as defined in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system (management, business and financial occupations; professional and related occupations).
What does that mean to you as an insurance professional?
This information is an introduction to a large market that truly requires the services you provide. The needs of this segment of the population include debt protection, children's education (remember the one in four statistic above), survivorship and guardianship planning for children under the age of 18, personal retirement planning, and business succession planning (for the women business owners). When you consider the number of women business owners, one must look at this market as a virtually untapped asset with great potential.
As an insurance professional, you have products and services in great demand by women in business, as their needs are no different from the male business owners, many of whom you call on regularly. Armed with this knowledge, why aren't women business owners the most sought after clients in the universe?
Whether you are dealing with a homemaker, a professional, or a business owner, the fact is, women need life insurance. Just like the male clients you serve, when women die prematurely, they leave behind responsibilities that someone must fulfill. An all-purpose fact finder can assist you in identifying those needs and provide you with the information needed to design a protection plan that will give your client the confidence that her obligations will be met even after death. Since women's roles are generally those of a nurturer, this act will bring peace of mind to your female clients.
If she is a professional earning a high-dollar salary, your client may be more concerned about maintaining a certain standard of living for her survivors. This would include providing child care and education for her children, allowing them to stay in their existing environment, and often accounting for those special extras such as a lavish wedding or the purchase of a first home for her young adult children. What better product than life insurance to accomplish her goals and dreams? She may also be concerned about her retirement, as many employers no longer offer defined benefit pension plans to their employees. You can show her how she can accomplish her goals and dreams, and still accumulate money for use on a tax-preferred basis at her retirement. Doesn't this sound like an indexed universal life insurance sale?
Let's look again at the woman business owner, since that category encompasses a large percentage of the female marketplace. In addition to the security she craves in her role as nurturer, she has unique needs as a business owner to plan for the disposition of her business, whether at her death or by sale.
Most small business owners rely on their business to be the source of income in their retirement. However, most of those same business owners have not made plans regarding how or to whom they will sell their business. You can help them work through this planning process by providing them with information on designing a retirement plan through their business (there may be tax advantages to such an arrangement). Your assistance will also be valuable in designing an insurance plan against the loss of an employee that is key to the success of that business, or structuring a buy-sell agreement with a potential purchaser to assure that monies will be available for the survivors in the event of her premature death.
Whether you need a simple fact finder or are looking for a comprehensive business planning model, your creative life sales consultant can assist you by providing the materials you need to explore the vast opportunities available in the female market.
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