In this column from Insurance Journal’s archives, Jim Ruta discusses 12 pandemic-related innovations and adaptations that will change the life insurance advisor’s role and this business forever. 

Question: How will the life insurance advisor’s role change because of the COVID-19 disruption? 

The COVID-19 lockdown has forced the development of some new and adapted business practices that will change this business and the advisor role – AD – After Detention. The good news is that these innovations and adaptations will help us thrive in the new reality and be even better insurance advisors than we were BC – Before COVID.

This is why advisors must keep working and adapting during the lockdown and as reopening is phased in. You will develop new skills to keep up with new business standards. Failing to do that will put you so far behind that you may not be able to catch up in time to stay relevant.

Here are 12 innovations and adaptations that will change the life insurance advisor’s role and this business forever.

  • Advisors will keep sending pre-meeting requirements – DocuSign, Engagement forms, data sheets and others to their prospects before both video and face-to-face meetings. This approach, necessary with video conferencing will also help with live meetings to help shorten them. There’s another adaptation – short meetings will persist. Some research says ideal online time is 37 to 45 minutes. The future of long meetings is likely very short in the new reality.
  • Guided by the new Essential Planning Pyramid™ for essential financial security (email me and I will send you a copy) – and the desire for safer, shorter meetings, advisors will use more rules of thumb to expedite life insurance sales for clients. Like using 5% interest on accumulated assets to provide income so 20X gross client income provides 100% of their earnings to the survivors; 15X gross income provides 75% to survivors; and 10X provides 50% to the survivors. This simple but accurate math will make insurance buying quicker and easier.
  • Observant advisors will sense the increased client urgency to get their affairs in order that developed in the pandemic lockdown – the life security mindset is changed forever. They will be more inclined to contact clients and prospects because of that mindset change. 
  • Advisors will conduct fewer client meetings in their offices. There will also end up being fewer advisor offices due to the increased ease and facility of video meetings for everyone. Why travel when we have a perfectly serviceable option in video? If you doubt this, think of how online shopping has caught on and accelerated, especially now. Then think about the additional business innovations that will follow for advice and product via videoconferencing. 
  • Advisors will hold more evening and weekend meetings via video conference to make new sales and review meetings more convenient for everyone involved. While evening appointments used to mean having people in your home until late, now, with shorter video meetings, clients can be more available than ever.
  • Advisor Facebook advertising and prospecting and LinkedIn advertising and prospecting will grow substantially. Old technology systems like “feeding names” (from the Granum System) will be integrated for better results. 
  • Advisors will extend their prospecting market areas with video and tele-advising to anywhere they have a license. Aided by online and social media advertising, they will be able to sell and service successfully much further afield. Advisor potential has just exploded. 
  • Advisors and their clients will use more quality cash value life insurance to create a non-correlated asset cash reserve for job loss protection, illness protection, opportunities, and COVID –“Next time”, due to a greater expectancy of major negative market events in the future. And they will sell it by video too. 
  • Advisors and their clients will make more use of guaranteed income annuities to provide essential basic income security for retirees. No one wants to get stuck waiting for government handouts like we are now. Who needs the extra anxiety? Concern for client mental health will play a big role in the future for advisors and what they do for their clients – and what clients want too. Remember, peace of mind equals quality of life. Put another way, freedom from anxiety equals quality of life.
  • More advisors will focus on the guarantees of insurance sales and refer money business to third parties to avoid the anxiety of difficult times like these. 
  • Video conferencing, reduced travel and shorter meetings will free advisors up to do more community work, meet family responsibilities and enjoy personal time. Four-day work weeks will be more common. Alternatively, they will be able to be more productive than ever.
  • Video training and education will be a thing starting right now and will nearly replace in-person meetings for the foreseeable future due to the memories of the lockdown and future safety considerations. These programs will be even more valuable than before because of the relative ease of bringing in the best advice. 

Think of the pandemic lockdown as a business advancement worm hole. The business entered in 2020 and will come out in 2025 - technologically. Hang on. It will be an exciting ride!

This column by renowned advisor coach Jim Ruta was first published in the June 2020 edition of Insurance Journal magazine.

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Jim Ruta’s mission is simple – to preserve, promote and propel the financial advisor business. A former insurance advisor and executive manager of a 250-advisor agency, Jim is a highly regarded coach, author, podcaster and keynote speaker. He has spoken 4 times at the MDRT Annual Meeting including the Main Platform. Jim Ruta is an Executive Coach and Keynote speaker specializing in life insurance advisors and leaders. He works with top advisors around the world and re-energizes audiences with his deep insight and passion. 

If you have a question for Jim, you may send an email to [email protected]