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What Are The Lyrics Of Your Practice?

Bob Dylan’s 1964 song, “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” is an iconic song that has long signaled that the world around us is in constant flux.

Protesters and social change groups have used the song as a rallying cry, while others have used it to celebrate necessary and significant events.

The song has been licensed for advertising messages and movie themes.

Who could have predicted 55 years ago that the lyrics would live on and mean so much for so many? While the world has dramatically changed, the meaning of the lyrics still reflect Dylan’s prophetic insights. It is an appropriate song for us to reflect upon as we face the world of change in our business.

Consumer buying preferences, attitudes and understanding of what life insurance can bring to the family are different now. Thanks to the internet and technology, consumers have many ways to learn about and purchase life insurance and other financial products. Competition for our share of the consumer’s attention has increased and other financial commitments have taken priority over purchasing life insurance or saving for retirement.

LIMRA research tells us that the number of policies written every year is at an all-time low. Yet nearly 50% of consumers tell us they understand and value the need for life insurance protection. Interestingly, LIMRA research also tells us that millennials are more likely to own life insurance than

Generation X consumers did at the same age. The good news is the market opportunity has never been greater, because these two generations combined are larger than the baby boomers, and may have greater needs. They are at the crossroads of protection and retirement savings needs.
Another important fact to consider is that consumers are still very interested in working with qualified advisors to help guide them in their financial decisions. The lack of financial literacy among these consumers is a significant problem. Although there is plenty of good and bad advice on the internet, there is nothing more valuable that having a qualified advisor help make sense of it all. The internet will never replace the value of the personal relationship.

So are “the times a-changin’” for you? Yes, in many ways, mostly around the way customers want to interact with you and the way you manage your practice. Technology has driven both of these new business realities. Our 2018 Insurance Barometer study found almost a quarter of consumers expect their advisors to have an active social media presence — that percentage grows to 4 in 10 with millennials. Invest in the most up-to-date technology to drive customer engagement and practice management. Stay current to be relevant.

What has not changed? Your lyrics — the compelling reasons that drove you into the industry and that keep you excited about the field. Like Dylan, you have deep beliefs for why you serve your customer. Recently, while speaking to a group of 220 Canadian financial advisors, I asked each of them to send me an email listing the two words that describe the passion they had for our business. Sixty-five people replied.

Is it a surprise to you that the three words that occurred most often are people helping people? After being in this industry for 50 years, I have gotten to know thousands of financial advisors. You, like the 65 Canadians and the thousands of others I know, are driven to help people. It is what sets you apart from others and drives you to help your clients achieve their financial goals.

Yes, the times they are a-changin’.  But the service that you provide to your customers at critical life junctures, remains constant and predictable. Thank you for the work you do every day.

James W. Kerley, LLIF, is chief membership officer for LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global. .

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