Due to an economic crisis that hasn't slowed down, more attention is on the financial strength of insurers. A new LIMRA study finds that more than a quarter of producers consider the financial strength of an insurer one of the two most important factors in 2011. That's significantly higher than in previous studies in 2008 and 2003, when just 16 percent said they paid significant attention to it.

"While awareness of insurers' financial strength has increased for producers, a competitive product line remains by far the number one consideration for producers when choosing a company with which to place their traditional fixed life insurance business," says Denise Marvel, assistant research director, LIMRA distribution research.

LIMRA's study examined the types of service and support provided by insurers that producers said they valued. Overall, training was the number one choice, with 32 percent of producers selecting an aspect of training as most important. Not surprisingly, more producers felt product training was most critical; fewer chose sales training and one-on-one coaching/mentoring as most important to their success.

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