Life insurance sales: Are banks an ally or obstacle for today's agents?

By Paul Wilson

ProducersWEB


A brand news study from LIMRA, “Bank On It! Opportunities With Today’s Bank Customer,” found that a growing number of young consumers are warming up to the idea of purchasing financial products and services, including life insurance, from their bank.

The majority of Generation X and Generation Y said they would consider purchasing life insurance from their bank, compared with only one-third of older generations, the study found.

It’s good to hear about Americans buying life insurance, no matter the details, but I can’t help wondering what advisors think of this news. If younger generations are more willing to go to the bank for their financial products, what does that mean for agents?

According to Patrick Leary, assistant vice president, LIMRA distribution research, “Many of these younger consumers have no existing relationship with a life insurance agent or financial advisor, so buying life insurance from their bank is not just another convenience — it provides an opportunity to get the financial protection these consumers really need."

Evidence continues to mount that many younger consumers place a high priority on convenience – one more obstacle for advisors in this world of social media and online quote engines.

If there’s an encouraging takeaway from the study however, it’s that 70 percent of consumers who were interested in purchasing life insurance from a bank were focused on simple products. Meanwhile, just one-third of affluent consumers said they would consider buying more complex life insurance products from their bank.

So, there you have it. More people are buying life insurance, but not necessarily from you. Simplicity and convenience continue to trump comprehensiveness and expertise.

What are your thoughts on the study? What would you tell someone who was interested in purchasing financial products from their bank? How can advisors remain relevant in this quickly evolving environment?