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FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH

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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