LIMRA CEO: Consumers Are Changing–We Must As Well

October 28th, 2014, No Comments, be the first ».

At the 98th LIMRA Annual Conference in New York, Robert A. Kerzner, CLU, ChFC, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, examined the changes in consumers’ demographics and expectations and explored the impact of their changes on the financial-services industry.

Kerzner encouraged executives to adopt new approaches to better engage with consumers to help them make better financial decisions about protecting their families with life insurance and saving systematically for retirement.

“Consumers and their household circumstances are not as homogenous as they once were and – not surprisingly – their needs, expectations and desires on how they want to shop and buy our products have changed as well,” said Kerzner.  “Companies need to look at how other industries have adapted and adopted new technology, social media, data analytics and gamification, to attract and connect with consumers.”

Kerzner highlighted key market segments – in particular women and Millennials – that are playing more prominent roles in the purchasing decisions of financial products, showing how differently these consumers gather information to make financial decisions.

“These consumers look to third-party outlets, like Angie’s List, Yelp and Amazon, for reviews and recommendations for products and services,” Kerzner noted. “How can we leverage these sites to promote the good our industry does?”

Kerzner noted we are competing for the hearts and minds of consumers who don’t necessarily understand or trust our industry.  He provided examples of how companies have used “gamification” to teach consumers the importance of saving and staying out of debt.  “It is imperative that we start teaching consumers about the ramifications of their financial decisions in an interesting and engaging manner.”

Citing examples like Zip Car and Modcloth, Kerzner also showed how start-ups are upending the business model in their various industries, finding success by identifying a need through consumer feedback and coming up with a non-traditional solution.

“Are we developing products that will meet consumers’ needs or are we building products that fit our business model?” questioned Kerzner.  “We need to listen better to what consumers are really worried about, like remaining mentally sharp, maintaining their social network, and who will take care of them when they get sick. Our focus on retirement has been too myopic. We are focusing too much on consumers’ money and too little on what keeps them up at night.”

The conference theme, “The Leadership Challenge: Connecting in a Distracted World,” focused on how industry leaders leverage the latest technology to address the changing dynamics of the market and meet the evolving expectations of consumers.  More than 500 senior leaders from life insurance and financial-services companies worldwide attended the meeting.

 

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Helpful Hints for Medicare Beneficiaries

October 24th, 2014, No Comments, be the first ».

Being in the practice of selling insurance for over twenty-six years, I have learned a few things about maintaining a level of commitment and proactivity toward my clients. I have found that reaching out to my older clients and/or their loved ones without waiting for them to contact me is a very effective method of calming anxiety and allaying concerns and confusion about making decisions regarding Medicare.

Every year since the inception of the Medicare Part D drug program, I have taken this time of year to call all my senior clients to offer my time and expertise and answer any questions or get any additional information they might need. In this way, they can make the most knowledgeable choices for the following plan year.

Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding Part D prescription drug plans and Part C Medicare Advantage plans. The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans started on October 15th and ends on December 7th, 2014. This means that Medicare beneficiaries have to analyze their options and make choices by December 7, 2014.

During the ACEP, often referred to as “open enrollment,” Medicare beneficiaries who do not have a Part D plan can enroll in one, and those who do have Part D coverage can change plans. Beneficiaries can also return to traditional Medicare from a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, enroll in an MA plan, or change MA plans. Enrollment requests made during the ACEP will have an effective date of January 1 of the following year.

Beneficiaries will once again have an opportunity to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan during a special period beginning January 1 through February 14, 2015, known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP).

This period allows beneficiaries to drop their Medicare Advantage plan, enroll in traditional Medicare, and pick up a Part D plan. The MADP does not allow beneficiaries to switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another. Beneficiaries who wish to change from one MA plan to another must do so during the ACEP between October 15, 2014 and December 7.

Contacting a client for a reason other than selling a new product is a great opportunity to promote the reality that we are not just peddlers of polices; instead, we are professionals providing valuable services that our clients should be able to trust and rely on in a more complete way.

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By Lisa Horowitz, CLU, CHFC

Lisa Horowitz, CLU, ChFC, has had her own insurance practice for 26 years and specializes in various disciplines, including life insurance, LTCI, DI and Group/Employee benefit programs. She recently started Lifecycles: Resource Management for Lives in Transition, which offers a holistic approach to managing and coordinating the details surrounding difficult medical transitions.

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