As one might expect, a big focus at NAILBA 29 was on continuing to grow businesses despite the many changes and challenges facing the industry.
On Thursday, a breakout session titled “Non-Traditional Markets/New Distribution Sources: New Opportunities to Grow Your Business” discussed various distribution sources to help BGAs expand and grow their businesses.
The panelists included Michael Blank, Brokers Insurance Services, Ltd.; Michael Tessler, Brokerage Unlimited, Inc.; and Chip Van Dusen, Diversified Brokerage Services, Inc. Along with facilitator Paul LaPiana, MetLIfe, they discussed wirehouses, banks, financial advisors, CPAs and other non-traditional markets as potential sources, stressing the need for diversification, adaptability and simple hard work.
Panelist Michael Tessler noted that while many in the life insurance industry tend to focus on “savings plans” sold to middle-income Americans, wealth managers are “talking to money,” often at large P&C firms. Indeed, a growing number of large transactions are falling to non-traditional life insurance sellers.
In addition, many private banks are serving roles similar to that of a concierge service; taking a more holistic approach in which insurance is just one part of the overall solution.
So, how does one get P&C firms and private banks to recognize that their clients need help? Tessler noted that many bankers are under pressure to produce, and are often willing to talk. In addition, banks and P&C companies often realize that they need to offer their clients a wide range of products — before someone else does.
The panelists were also asked, “How do you get CPAs, wealth advisors, and P&C insurers to engage about their clients?” The solution comes in making it as easy as possible for them. In other words, it may be necessary to do the paperwork and everything else necessary to simplify the process.
And how do BGAs get in the door with banks? Carriers can help. Other potential door-openers include referrals from existing customers and marketing organizations.
And nobody said the process is easy. The panelists noted that challenges facing BGAs looking for other distribution sources include reinvesting in their businesses and upgrading staff to include specialists such as estate planners and underwriters.