The picture’s not completely rosy for 2015, but there are stillopportunities in the life insurance market, according to theexperts. And lots of those will come from retiring boomerslooking to secure their income with annuities.

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According to the LOMA 2015 Life Insurance Industry Forecast, lowinterest rates and a less-than-stellar economic recovery are goingto continue to be thorns in the side of the industry — especiallyfor annuities. But the news from the panel of executives andindustry analysts that LOMA interviewed about their predictions forthe next 12 months wasn’t all bleak.

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The experts were asked about what they saw as upcoming trends insales, distribution, service, technology and social media for thelife insurance industry. In response, they said they seemillennials and Gen Xers as strong target markets, especially forconservative savings vehicles, easy-to-understand propositions, anddigital offerings – although, critically, several conceded that itcan be challenging to gain their attention and trust.

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“Unless the industry can figure out a way to attract themillennial generation, and be easier to do business with, I thinkour industry will only experience single-digit growth,” said JohnDelPozzo, senior vice president, PGA distribution, Ohio NationalFinancial Services.

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Still, retiring boomers looking for a steady income stream areseen as an opportunity to boost annuity sales as they “shift theirretirement accounts strategy from accumulation to decumulation,”according to the forecast.

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Investments in Big Data and analytics can be a means of boostingsales as well, although according to Tom Scales, research directorat Celent, the industry hasn’t really made the leap that will allowit to benefit from its use. “The wealth of data in insurers ishuge, but they have not leveraged it well,” Scales said.

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He added, “Think of the direct link between your social mediaposts and your life events. Surely there is an opportunity to makesales of life insurance when someone posts pictures of their newbaby on Facebook. Similarly the post ‘pictures of my retirementparty’ certainly leads to an opportunity for retirement products orpostretirement planning.”

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Whether such moves will be welcome to prospective customersremains to be seen, although the relentlessness of Big Data camethrough in something else Scales said:

“There still seems to be concern about channel conflict in usingcustomer data, but that time has passed — if the carrier doesn’tuse it, a competitor will.”

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