With people forced to expend large sums on health and auto insurance, their budgets for life insurance, AD&D and other voluntary coverage have shrunk and—not surprisingly—the market for these financial protections is flat.
Against this backdrop, we spoke with three senior life insurance executives to identify the key trends in the marketplace right now.
Richard Kappers, Senior Marketing Product Specialist, Cigna Life Insurance:
Under today’s conditions, many insurance providers are “trying to grow from within and organically in the marketplace,” by acquiring the business of their competitors or by reinvesting in their existing client base to provide secondary forms of coverage.
“All the products we offer have a place in your family’s financial protection portfolio, but you don’t need them all to the same degree at the same time. As a group, insurers can do a better job educating people about our products.”
In addition to deepening customer understanding about the availability and applicability of various insurance products, life insurers are working to expand their product lines to respond more rapidly to changes in the marketplace. This year, Cigna will file eight new riders to cover a variety of issues from elder care to college planning.
Quote"The trends in the marketplace are the same trends in society at large. The population is aging. It’s health is declining and people are remaining in a disabled state more than any time in the past.”
“The trends in the marketplace are the same trends in society at large. The population is aging. It’s health is declining and people are remaining in a disabled state more than any time in the past.” They also have “greater expectations for and reliance on technology. We are trying to be responsive to larger societal trends, through the lens of the life product.”
Brent Lesmeister, National Sales Vice President for Group Insurance, Securian Financial Group:
Current trends include a greater reliance on online customer relationships, especially those conducted via mobile platforms. Also, the exchange model used to facilitate comparison-shopping for healthcare may soon expand to include different types insurance purchasing.
“As benefit exchanges and purchasing platforms become more relevant, we’re preparing for a shift in how employers purchase insurance. Consulting groups and brokers that we work with are investing lots of time and money in these platforms, and we want to make sure we are a big player in that space.”
Phil Bruen, Vice President and Disability and Absence Practice Leader, MetLife:
Tighter product integration and communicating the value of those products to a variety of audiences is a major area of focus to most carriers. Moreover, “As employees’ financial concerns mount, they’re turning to the workplace for more counsel and guidance than ever before, and the employers’ role is shifting from simply providing benefits to becoming a resource on how to manage finances.”
For their part, benefit advisers help employers align their strategic goals with the programs that best meet the needs of their employees, while also driving greater employee engagement.
“Benefit managers deeply value the role that their employee benefit advisers play in choosing benefit programs that support their employers’ business strategies. They develop recommendations to address challenges and support the implementation of benefits,” in ways that fill gaps and allow employees to get the most out of those benefits.
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