Jim Kerley, Chief Membership Officer at LIMRA, is not the first to say the life insurance industry is poised for significant opportunity. The most creative agents in the industry say the same thing. So does one of the country’s smartest VC firms. Non-traditional retailers like Walmart have dipped their toe in the life insurance sales waters, and will likely continue to pursue middle market consumers who, by all accounts, are underinsured.

But Kerley is surely one of the most persuasive. Asked about a recent LIMRA study that identified opportunities and challenges for the year ahead, he shared a number of ways he thinks independent agents can capitalize on all this opportunity.

And he gives a compelling reason for doing it, too. “At the end of the day, the single best advantage that we offer to the American public is that we provide a product that will be there when tragedy strikes,” Kerley says. “The product development and the underwriting might be complex, but the psychology of the sale is not.”

Read on for five of the best ways to sell this year.


1. Lead with the guarantee.

Death and taxes may be the only true certainties, but consumers still chase guarantees. Whether your clients are Gen Yers starting families, Gen Xers leading businesses or boomers moving toward retirement, they want to know that their money can buy customized financial security. Lead with the guarantee, and you will see your sales spike, says Kerley. The proof is in the sales data: products like whole life, indexed universal life and even variable life have sold exceedingly well in recent years.

a2. Serve your clients’ children.

This year, millennials will become the largest living generation in the U.S. While their purchasing power is slightly behind that of boomers at the same point in their lives, the sheer volume of prospects is an opportunity too great to ignore. Moreover, these potential clients want to find an advisor through a referral, whether it be online or from a family member or friend. If you are trusted by the parent, you will be trusted by the child.

“As independent companies are working hard to deliver value, for me, the shift from thinking about baby boomers to thinking about Gen X and Gen Y — which are something like twice the number of the baby boomers — is going to be hugely important,” says Kerley. “We are going to figure out how to sell to them in the best possible way, including through digital sales channels.”

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