You may have heard this in our magazine before: Insurance is an important component of wealth management, and too few reps have made the effort to fit it into client portfolios.
Well, we're beating the same drum, only louder this time, because so many of your current and potential clients are heading into retirement — yep, you know who we mean — and they are the ones who need insurance most, for everything from estate planning to income distribution, from charitable giving to business succession planning, and, yes, even health care. And, remember, you are not the only advisor courting these Americans — you've got a lot of competition.
So insurance is something you need to know how to use, and if you don't get the licensing to sell it yourself, you need to partner with someone who can. It isn't easy keeping up. The insurance landscape is a rapidly changing one — insurance companies are constantly inventing new combinations of guarantees and benefits and riders and surrender periods for every possible corner of the market. But some consultants say that the product specifics are often less important than the big picture.
Take long-term care insurance, for example. “If you are recommending a product from one of the top three players, the coverage is basically the same,” says Barry Fisher, vice president and chief marketing officer for Republic Marketing Group, a New Braunfels, Texas, insurance marketing organization that specializes in long-term care insurance product development and distribution. “Rather than focusing on the difference between two companies' policies, advisors should be speaking with clients about how much long-term care is going to cost them in their 80s, and how are they going to pay for it.” In Fisher's view, it's best to keep it simple. “Stop talking about the care itself and the minutiae of the policies and start talking about the risk-and the product that's available to solve the problem,” he asserts.
Of course, selling insurance can be complex for financial advisors and reps because of its separate regulatory status and oversight, too. But that is something that may be changing for a very popular, rapidly growing product that has gotten a lot of negative press: equity-index annuities. Like variable annuities, it's a product that resides in the uneasy divide between the insurance and securities worlds. Regulators have gotten on its case and broker/dealers are responding. Read on, for more.