Scientists are currently tracking the sixth mass extinction in the past 500 million years, writes Elizabeth Kolbert in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "The Sixth Extinction." The latest is predicted to be the worst since the dinosaurs were eradicated by an asteroid. "The one feature these disparate events have in common is … rate of change," Kolbert writes. "When the world changes faster than species can adapt, many fall out."

According to current estimates, close to half of all living species could be gone by the end of this century. Bats, frogs, rhinos, coral, apes — the list goes on and on. Although it's an incredibly compelling read, I would recommend accompanying it with a stiff drink. But it got me thinking about some grim statistics that have been circulating lately about another extinction — that of the broker.

Remember the survey a few years back that found 45 percent of brokers were considering giving up? More than half expressed a lack of confidence in the future of the industry. Another study found that two-thirds of brokers had seen peers leave the job in the last year, and that those who remain are worried about everything from health care reform to simply remaining relevant. Did I cheer you up yet?

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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.