November 12, 2015 by Karen Bump
Women are a growing market for insurance and retirement planning. In fact, a recent report found that by 2030, women will represent a trillion-dollar opportunity for the insurance industry.1
In order to harness this emerging market, insurance professionals and the insurance industry must begin to tailor their approach to working with female clients.
As a whole, women prefer a relational approach over a transactional approach when working with financial professionals. When they’re being sold to, they not only want to know about the financial compensation, but also the protection a product can offer them and their family.
In this regard, female advisors have an edge over male advisors when working with female clients. Women can differentiate themselves through their ability to empathize, build long-term relationships and give advice.1
With the growing female client demographic, there is an increasing opportunity for more and more women to become successful female financial professionals. Yet, only 22 percent of independent insurance agents are female.2
Now, more than ever, it is important to empower and support women in the insurance industry. Insurance carriers, associations, networking groups and individuals must begin to work to together to attract and retain female financial professionals.
Brokers International’s Women’s Mentoring Agent Network (WOMAN) is a well-known advocate for female financial professionals. The organization, recently named a “Champion of Change” in National Underwriter Life and Health Magazine, offers women networking, awards and idea sharing opportunities.
To help financial professionals get in front of more female prospects, WOMAN has helped produce a women’s only seminar called Retirement Purse Strings. The seminar discusses women’s unique financial challenges and provides strategies for long-term financial independence. Click here to learn how you can access the new seminar.
1Holbrook, Emily. “Women’s Market Represents Trillion-dollar Opportunity.” LifeHealthPro. 7 Oct. 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. <http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/10/07/womens-market-represents-trillion-dollar-opportuni>.
2Meiners, Carley. “Women: On How to Be Successful and Improve Client Relationships.” LifeHealthPro. 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/10/06/women-on-how-to-be-successful-and-improve-client-r>.
November 5, 2015 by Mike Jorgensen
For clients with an IRA account, life insurance can provide an effective way to realize the full potential of their IRA funds.
In its simplest form, optimization occurs by moving money from an inefficient tax product to a more tax-efficient one. In this case, moving dollars from an IRA to a life insurance policy in order to minimize the income taxes on the IRA assets.
This strategy can be especially useful for clients who are not actively utilizing their IRA and are nearing their Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) at age 70 1/2.
To learn additional ways to meet your clients’ needs with life solutions, be sure to check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and archived recorded programs here.
October 16, 2015 by Travis Redfern
An aging population who has continued to shift assets from employer-sponsored plans to alternative financial strategies has given way to a growing individual retirement account (IRA) market.
These shifts have created an IRA marketplace that is expected to make up more than 35 percent of total retirement assets by the end of 2018, which means IRAs could comprise the largest single share of the market with an estimated $9 trillion in total assets. 1
This dramatic growth has not only created opportunities for agents who utilize IRA planning, but also a demand for those who can unravel an increasingly complex tax code, new rollover rules and estate planning updates.
For agents looking to tap into the expanding IRA market, a high degree of know-how to effectively leverage IRAs and identify hidden taxes can make a difference in distinguishing yourself as a resource who can optimize your clients’ income.
To help you succeed, Brokers International has teamed with nationally recognized IRA author and speaker, Ed Slott, for an exclusive IRA distribution planning event on November 5 and 6 in San Diego, CA.
Part of our Retirement Recharge series, this event will highlight the latest case studies, congressional action and Supreme Court rulings to put you on the cutting-edge of tax law and IRA distribution planning. For a sneak peek at this event’s simplified approach to complex IRA planning and how it can work for your clients, click here to download Ed Slott’s whitepaper, Using a Tax Refund to Fund an IRA in 5 Easy Steps.
For more IRA planning tips to enhance your practice, click here for information about attending Retirement Recharge featuring Ed Slott and company at no cost to you.
1 “Retirement Markets 2013: Data & Dynamics of Employer-Sponsored Plans.” Cerulli Associates, Web. 23 Sept. 2015. Available at http://www.cerulli.com/publications/retirement-markets-2013-data-dynamics-of-employer-sponsored-plans-P000105
October 15, 2015 by John Brickhouse
The concept of fiduciary in our industry is receiving increased attention due to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Conflict of Interest Proposed Rule (Proposed Rule).
The Proposed Rule would take the current DOL fiduciary requirement, in place for individuals providing fiduciary investment advice to employer-based plan sponsors and plan participants, and expand it to include any individual receiving compensation for providing advice regarding a retirement investment decision that is individualized or specifically directed to a particular plan sponsor (e.g., an employer with a retirement plan), plan participant or IRA owner. In the end, a registered representative, insurance agent or other type of adviser would be defined as a fiduciary by the Proposed Rule. Some of these advisers are already subject to federal securities laws requiring a fiduciary standard, including Investment Advisor Representatives (IAR).
As you may recall over the last couple of months, we have been discussing the process of becoming an IAR and the potential benefits it may provide to your current financial services practice. Under current SEC law, IARs are already subject to a fiduciary duty that requires them to act in the best interests of clients and to place the interests of clients before their own. Sound familiar? One question being asked is why the DOL is expanding their fiduciary duty standards to include all advisers receiving compensation for retirement advice, including IRAs, instead of the SEC? The DOL has made the case that IRAs are included under retirement assets which they are responsible for protecting. Therefore, everyone giving retirement advice should be held to the same standard.
Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball to say what, for sure, will be the final fiduciary duty outcome. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about how IARs meet their fiduciary duties when advising clients today, potentially preparing for future changes, give us a call at 877.886.1939 or click here to send me an email. Also, click here for a DOL Proposed Rule fact sheet that provides an overview that you might find of interest.
Please note that this link is for information purposes only and does not necessarily reflect Brokers Financial’s or its parent company’s, Brokers International, views.
October 8, 2015 by Mike Jorgensen
Over the past decade, tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities have soared to an average rate of 4.2 percent per year beyond the rate of general inflation1. Due to increases like these, the average debt for graduating students in 2015 is now more than $35,000.2
With parents and students struggling to meet these rising costs, one college funding option that has gained momentum is life insurance.
While the primary goal of life insurance is to provide a death benefit to beneficiaries, it can also be used to create a college funding strategy that has the potential to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis. These funds can then be accessed tax-free through policy loans to help pay for college costs.
After helping with college finances, clients can repurpose their policy to help supplement retirement income or to meet other financial goals. Additionally, the policy would allow for death benefit proceeds in the event of a premature death.
To see this concept in action, click here to download a case study that highlights how a grandparent uses life insurance to fund their grand child’s future college education.
For more innovative ways to meet your clients’ individual needs through life solutions, be sure to check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and recorded programs here.
- “Trends in College Pricing.” The College Board. 2013. 21 Sept. 2015. http://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/college-pricing-2013-full-report.pdf.
- Berman, Jullian. “Class of 2015 has the most student debt in history” MarketWatch. 9 May 2015. Web. 19 May 2015. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/class-of-2015-has-the-most-student-debt-in-us-history-2015-05-08
October 1, 2015 by Courtney Redfern
Your brand is a verbal and visual expression of your business. It serves as a shorthand to communicate with clients, increases awareness of your firm and creates a memorable distinction between you and other financial professionals.
Some of the most well-known companies in the world owe much of their success to building strong brands. Each has accomplished this by using a combination of branding techniques to consistently define who they are and what value they can provide to their customers. As an insurance professional, you can use some of these same branding techniques to strengthen everything from the look of your business cards to how clients are greeted in your office.
To help you get started defining your business’ unique purpose and identity, we’ve compiled our best branding techniques for financial professionals into a new guide, Building your financial professional brand. Using this guide, you can assess where your brand currently stands and how you can make it stronger with some key steps and innovative branding resources.
Define your business’ identity by downloading the guide here.
September 23, 2015 by Ryan Kennedy
Video marketing represents a persuasive new way to garner client and prospect attention. That’s because using video on digital marketing channels can have a positive effect on audience engagement.
But if you’re just wading into video marketing, the question often becomes how can I actually get my video onto these channels? This is where a video sharing service like YouTube can become a valuable tool for distribution.
Outside of serving as a search engine to get your video noticed on the web, YouTube can also provide you with a with a variety of sharing features to easily distribute your video through specific digital marketing channels like email, social media and your website.
Here are some statistics on how video shared via YouTube can improve your digital marketing engagement:
- Business emails that include video increase click-through traffic to websites by 96 percent.1
- Video attracts two to three times as many monthly visitors to a website and doubles the time visitors spend on a site.2
- More than 50 percent of Facebook visitors watch at least one video each day.3
To share your video online with YouTube, click here to download our new Guide to YouTube. The guide provide step-by-step details on uploading your video so you can digitally engage with your clients and prospects.
If you want to start implementing video marketing into your own practice, but don’t have a video to share, Brokers International can also help. Our new program, Take One, is a comprehensive video production service that can provide you with a professional agent commercial at no cost.
For more details and to watch our sample Take One agent videos, click here.
1“GetResponse Study Shows Video Emails Increase Click-through Rates by 96 Percent.” PR Newswire. Web. 6 January 2015
2“Content Marketing: Videos Attract 300% More Traffic and Nurture Leads.” Marketing Sherpa. 14 December 2011. Web. 6 January 2015
3“The New Universal Language.” Facebook IQ. 7 January 2015. Web. 3 March 2015.
September 16, 2015 by John Brickhouse
If you’re an experienced financial professional looking to make the leap into the advisory business, you’re probably wondering which option may be best for you.
Do you become an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) of an established Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) or start your own? In my last blog, you learned the benefits of becoming an IAR and the additional services you can provide to your clients.
Starting an RIA allows it to be all yours, however, it is not without its challenges. Below is a sample of certain items that need to be developed and implemented if you decide to open an RIA:
- Designated compliance contact
- Operations support
- Written policies and procedures
- Ongoing review of marketing material
- Renewals, fees and expenses
- Time Management
- Audit support
- Technology solutions
- Maintaining files – electronic versus hard copy
- Drafting of Client Agreements and ADV Brochures
- Understanding your strengths and weaknesses
If this list causes concern, it may be a better option to work with an established RIA like Brokers Financial. As an IAR with Brokers Financial, you gain a partner and become part of an organization that has the same interest as yours. This enables you to still maintain your branding and independence without the challenges it takes to go it alone.
For more information about becoming an IAR with Brokers Financial, please contact us at 877.886.1939.
September 8, 2015 by Travis Redfern
As a modern-day professional, you’ve probably grown dependent on mobile devices and online resources to run your business.
From responding to client inquiries to managing your company social media accounts, your daily business activities have become more and more dependent on technology. In fact, 25 percent of surveyed independent insurance agents nationwide expect to begin using tablets during sales presentations with their clients.1
As consumers become accustomed to technology touching every aspect of their lives, they will begin to expect it when working with their financial professionals. It is important you embrace technology to work more efficiently and increase client satisfaction.
A key way to leverage technology in your practice is to move away from traditional paper applications, and begin submitting annuity business online.
Online annuity applications provide you with the most-up-to-date forms, accuracy checkpoints and saved information from past applications. Because of accuracy checkpoints, online applications issue an average of three days faster than traditional paper appilcations.2 Plus, certain systems allow you to complete applications with e-signatures on mobile devices, giving you the flexibility to take a sale from start to finish in a client’s home.
If you’re interested in using e-applications with your clients, Brokers International’s WriteNow portal allows you to submit annuity business online. The new tool is designed to help you simplify and speed up the process of writing annuity business with multiple carriers.
For more information on WriteNow, click here.
1 “Independent Agents Drawn to Tablet Applications.” Insurance Journal News. 21 July 2014. Web. 20 Aug. 2015. <http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/features/2014/07/21/334704.htm>.
2 Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America internal sales statistic.
September 1, 2015 by Mike Jorgensen
To kick off Life Insurance Awareness Month, here are some tips on how to move your clients and prospects from simply being aware of life insurance to owning it.
Most Americans are already aware of the need for life insurance, in fact, almost nine in ten Americans view life insurance as a necessity. Yet, out of those surveyed, only six out of ten said they owned some sort of life insurance.1
So why aren’t people buying the life insurance they feel they need?
Competing financial priorities and overestimating the cost are two factors. But according to LIMRA the primary reason people do not buy life insurance is simple—indecision.1 People don’t know how much life insurance they need or what kind to buy—so they procrastinate.
To start optimizing your sales potential, click here to download our new guide, Five steps to support the life insurance sale. Using this guide, you’ll find a straight-forward sales path that can help you raise the life insurance question with your clients, ease their indecision over how and when to purchase and advance them to purchase.
1 “Insure Your Love.” LIMRA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan 2015. <http://www.limra.com/uploadedFiles/limracom/About/Insure-Your-Love -2013.pdf>.