For Mike James, COVID-19 shouldn’t be a pal.
James has been president of NFP Corp.’s NFP Life Options unit since July 2017, and head of particular person options at NFP since January 2006. He got here into NFP as a gross sales govt with NFP’s Companions Monetary, after spending 14 years John Hancock.
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James now oversees the sale of big quantities of life insurance coverage and annuities, primarily via monetary professionals who’ve depended closely on face-to-face shopper conferences, with purchasers who’ve historically accomplished most main monetary providers transactions via face-to-face conferences.
Then, the pandemic got here alongside. With the lockdowns, and the masks, and the Zoom conferences.
Listed below are three issues James mentioned about what it’s wish to attempt to promote life insurance coverage now.
1. Promoting life insurance coverage and annuity insurance coverage this 12 months is nothing like promoting these merchandise a 12 months in the past.
James mentioned making any sorts of year-over-year comparisons is troublesome, as a result of the state of affairs this 12 months is a lot completely different.
“I think we are performing well,” James mentioned. However “we’re not operating the same way.”
James mentioned he and the monetary professionals he works with are shifting shortly to develop new methods, primarily based on methods equivalent to connecting individuals with webinar instruments.
“I’m trying to build conversations around engagement,” James mentioned. “Everything is about engagement.”
However “lots of things have been lost and can never be replicated with virtual communication,” James mentioned.
One social-distancing-related subject he’s considering extra about is retaining in-force enterprise.
“If you can’t see clients, it’s hard to retain clients,” James mentioned.
One other subject he sees is uncertainty about how the pandemic can be evolve. ”Nobody is aware of what the longer term holds,” he mentioned. “There’s so much that could change.”
2. Getting the webinar going is the simple half.
James sees typical monetary professionals and typical purchasers adjusting to the brand new internet name universe..
“People are making the turn,” he mentioned.
For most individuals, James mentioned, individuals studying to make use of Zoom and its opponents is a bit of like individuals studying to make use of Apple cellular gadgets again when the cellular gadgets first got here out.
James mentioned the largest tech problem has not been individuals’s resistance to alter, or the necessity for brand new info know-how programs.
“It was security,” James mentioned.
NFP’s principal community may be steady and safe, however defending the hyperlink between the principle community and a shopper’s digital gadgets, or between the principle community and a monetary skilled’s gadgets, could be difficult, James mentioned.
“We deal with sensitive and private information,” James mentioned. “Cyber threats are at an all-time high.”
A method NFP tries to defend itself is to be an lively participant in threat-sharing teams with different monetary providers firms, James mentioned.
“This is not an area in which we should be competing,” he mentioned.
3. Getting good interns is surprisingly exhausting.
James himself got here into the life insurance coverage business via an internship program in Boston, in 1991.
He now helps create internship alternatives by supporting the Heart for Teen Empowerment in Boston.
It may appear as if pandemic-related disruption would improve the enchantment of the sorts of well-organized, digital internships the middle can provide.
However, in the true world, the middle nonetheless has to work exhausting to draw interns, James mentioned. He mentioned many would-be interns would like to have an internship that comes with bodily interactions, not only a digital internship.
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