I think we all are relieved 2020 is now in the rearview mirror – a year that was unlike any other with the combination of COVID, market volatility, and a presidential election. There are aspects that came out of this year that were positive for our industry; although, they may have been hard to notice. The day we can turn off the online video meetings and hold in-person events to shake the hands of our colleagues, clients, and friends is hopefully fast approaching!
Coronavirus forced corporate America’s hand and demanded the acceleration and adoption of technology far beyond what we would have thought possible. We now know that employees can work from home effectively and efficiently and have the technological resources needed to keep the wheels of business turning during a pandemic. It certainly was not easy, but one could only imagine the catastrophic economic and social impact such an event would have had 50 years ago. It demanded much from our insurance carrier partners as well. The slow move towards accelerated underwriting and electronic application processing was put into overdrive. The changes they were forced to implement will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the customer experience by making the sales process faster, easier, and more user friendly across the board.
The low interest rate environment has put a strain on the insurance carriers as it pertains to their general account products. As we made the rounds with the carriers these past months, we have noticed a shift in their outlooks for 2021 in favor of VUL, which is obviously good for the broker-dealer business, but also good for you since you are affiliated with us. The adoption of AG 49A also adds to VUL’s attractiveness because it allows the carriers to shift those IUL offerings within the VUL chassis free from actuarial guideline constraint. With the new administration assuming power, there may be a renewed focus on increased taxes and regulation. I believe this will prove to be a net positive for tax-advantaged insurance strategies, either protection or accumulation, as well as general estate or business planning. We expect a large degree of renewed interest in variable life for 2021, and we are here to help if this is a new or traditionally less-focused product line for you.
At The Leaders Group, we ended up about 23% for the year with over 300 newly registered representatives, 130 of which were retail agents. We are looking forward to continuing that growth for 2021, and we truly appreciate all the referrals our wholesale partners have sent our way. Without you, we would be nowhere.
This year, the passing of our CEO, Dave Wickersham, was difficult for our organization. Dave would have wanted us to press on and continue to offer you the best customer service we can, and that is exactly what we intend on doing.
We sincerely wish you the greatest success for 2021! Remember, “Doing the Right Thing is Always the Right Thing!TM”
Charles Arnold, Sales & Business Development Team Manager