Today's hostile environment of low interest rates, high market volatility and continuing regulatory pressure requires products with the flexibility to adapt in an improving economy.
Notes from NAILBA 31 Industry Leaders Share share their Theirthoughts Thoughtsabout About2013 2013 John Ziambras CLU, President and CEO, AimcoR Everybody talks about the standard things: distribution, interest rates, AG 38. My perspective is these are things that we cannot really do anything about. I see the opportunity in becoming something very different from what exists now. I’m focused on the consumer, and a consumer society that is underserved and underinsured. Carriers say, “Well, my customer’s the broker. My customer’s the BGA.” No, it’s not. It’s ultimately the consumer – and carriers will get their product to the consumer in the manner that the consumer wants to receive it. Our challenge is, what do we (the IMO) need to be in this transaction? And as I’ve said, what used to be for 30 years isn’t going to be relevant enough for us now. We’re approaching the future very differently in terms of the historical value proposition of a BGA and IMO. I think our goals as IMOs and BGAs should be to enable new producers, partnerships with the carriers, to create new distribution, and focus on alternative markets. I’m on a mission to lead AimcoR to a different level. We’re not the biggest and we’re relatively young but we’re growing constantly. This is not about just 2013, but what we are going to look like in the long-term? There’s enough data today that the value proposition is not going to be in the processing. It’s going to be on the education and improving the consumer experience around insurance. We want to be able to explain the value of these things to any demographic and to have the tools to be able to do it. Bill Levinson Managing Partner, Levinson & Associates, Inc. As distributors, we have to constantly come up with new turn-key sales platforms so agents can get in front of prospects. We have made big changes to our I-genius platform so agents can have a full marketing program at no charge and utilizing these tools will keep them a step in front of the competition. The big products for 2013 will be whole 54 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine » January 2013 life, indexed UL, critical illness, and mortgage/non-med term type products. We see AG 38 affecting pricing for no-lapse UL products, so the industry will be shifting toward these new guidelines. Regardless of the industry changes, the key continues to be focusing on the agent experience and developing useful products and programs. Our 2013 scholarship program now has more than 10 products, 299 colleges and over 100 marketing letters/ mailers. We have also added a new co-op exclusive lead mortgage program that will help new agents tap into the life marketplace without cold calling. The focus for us is new technology and consistent training that is getting better and better every day. The days of great comp, great service and great products will not be enough moving forward. You will need all of this plus a great sales platform that can help agents see more clients each and every day. Value proposition should be the IMO’s focus day in and day out! Arnold D. Henkel Senior Vice President for Strategic Alliances for Ameritas As mutual company, Ameritas is always focused on stability and the longterm for the benefit of our policyholders. The ongoing challenges we face are always delivering that long-term value. Right now, long-term interest rates are squeezing margins, which could go on for a couple more years. Add to that our conservative investment and product offering philosophies and our stability and we think, to some degree, the big gain is going to be the marketplace continuing to come back to us. AG 38 is going to impact a company’s ability to market products. We already see others re-pricing and raising prices on a number of products – we shouldn’t have to do that. We’ve already modified our variable annuity, our life products, our long-term sustainable to complete in this current marketplace. We are starting to see challenges with European parent companies and some action around divestiture, or pulling from certain markets, which will be good in the long run as the industry matures. The value proposition around good agents