Committed To You
The importance of having a professional insurance agent
PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS and brokers are an essential link between the Association and our members. Our agents help our membership by providing and servicing our products, by educating our members on how to manage risk, and by helping you to make informed decisions regarding your insurance and annuity purchases.
Small businesses and individuals also rely on the advice of professional agents for financial and retirement planning. Surveys continue to show that our members want personal, one-on-one service that can be provided only by a professional agent or broker.
According to a recent study by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the life insurance industry accounts for $5.2 trillion invested in the U.S. economy, making it one of the largest sources of investment capital in the nation. The industry generates approximately 2.5 million jobs in the U.S., including direct and independent sales agents and those in non-insurance support related positions.
Here are some other facts from the most recent ACLI study:
• Two out of three American families (over 75 million) depend on the life insurance industry for financial and retirement security in one form or another.
• American families have more than $19.3 trillion of life insurance protection in force through group and individual policies.
• The life insurance industry pays out an average of $1.5 billion every day in the form of life insurance benefits, annuity payments, disability benefits and retirement benefits.
• Life insurance and annuities currently account for approximately 20 percent of American’s long-term savings plans.
• Life insurance ownership has declined steadily over the past few years and now stands at a 50-year low. Only 44 percent of U.S. households own individual insurance, down from 72 percent in 1960.
• The number of households without any coverage is growing. Nearly one-third of U.S. households (35 million) have no coverage compared to 22 percent (24 million) in 2004.
• Americans today see the need for life insurance. About half of U.S. households surveyed said they feel they need more coverage–the largest number ever recorded by LIMRA/ACLI.
• While 60 percent of the baby-boomer households stated that they prefer to buy insurance “face-to-face” from a professional agent, only 20 percent said they currently have a personal life insurance agent or broker relationship.
Professional insurance agents are licensed and regulated by the state insurance departments, and many agents and advisors are also regulated and licensed at the federal level as well. Prospective and new agents receive extensive training prior to taking a written exam to obtain their licenses. Continuing education is typically required for professional agents to maintain their licenses, so you can be sure that your agent’s training and industry knowledge is current.
Many of our agents have taken college-level courses to further their knowledge. Some of the more prevalent professional designations you may see held by our agents include:
• FIC (Fraternal Insurance Counselor)
• CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter)
• ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)
• LUTCF (Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow)
• CSA (Certified Senior Advisor)
• FEPS (Final Expense Planning Specialist, the newest designation).
Agents that hold one or more of these professional designations must adhere to strict ethical standards and submit to additional continuing education to maintain their professional designation.
Here are a few ways in which our professional agents can provide service to our members:
• Needs Assessment. Your WPA agent can work with you to evaluate your needs for insurance, estate, business and retirement planning. This process usually involves the gathering of information and assessing your current position and specific goals. As circumstances change, additional assessments and adjustments to your plan may be necessary.
• Education. Your agent can explain the various options available to you and help you compare products and services from not only WPA but other carriers as well.
• Planning. Your agent can recommend plans that fulfill your needs and stay within your budget.
• Follow Up and Execution. Your agent will work with you to execute your plan so your coverage is placed in force and at the lowest available cost.
• Change Management. Your agent will meet with you periodically to review your plans and make certain you are on track to reach your desired goals.
• Claim Service. Your agent will be available to assist you or your family by providing exemplary service at the time when it’s needed most.
As you can see, there are many advantages to working with a professional agent. To continue to serve our membership at the highest possible level, our agents and brokers will continue to reinvent and redefine the value they provide by staying up-to-date on the latest changes in the marketplace. Here at William Penn Association, we are committed to providing our agents and brokers with ongoing training on our products, processes, services, and member benefits to enable them to provide you, our valued members, with the highest level of professional service.
Are you among the 80 percent who aren’t currently working with a professional agent? Call your WPA agent today, or the Home Office and we’ll have a professional agent assigned to you.
Happy Independence Day!