Having spent the past 20+ years in the life insurance industry, it's been a pleasure seeing this conference grow from its modest start 9 years ago. Today, the Life Insurance Conference is a well established and premier industry event that draws over 500 interested attendees from various carriers, media and technology partners.
Senan O'Loughlin, SVP Clients Markets, Swiss Re noted in his General Session titled "The Economic Environment of the Life Insurance Industry - Is It Time to Be All In?" that "US expansion growth is moderate" and "Capital lost during the crisis has been restored but not at the same quality". Senan's message reinforced a similar optimistic theme heard among speakers and attendees over the previous two days of the conference. He also provided a positive overview of New Business trends that included: overall sales have stabilized, annuity sales are growing - especially VA, a slight decline in term insurance due to fewer product offerings and some price increases and that Whole Life Insurance has seen steady growth over the past 5 years.
Another conference theme continued from earlier sessions was Social Media. Mike Fitzgerald, a Senior Analyst with Celent shared the results of a pre-conference attendee survey that was conducted. While there are risks and rewards of social media marketing, its clear carriers have a vested desire to connect with online consumers. Mike noted " that from 2008 - 2010, the fastest growing demographic now using social networking sites are the Older Boomers".
Gene Smaciarz, Director- Creative Services at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, offered a carrier's perspective on how his faith-based member organization was using online "Member Communities" to connect with its nearly 3 million members . Gene spoke of the Five Basic Objectives of their Social Media needs that included:
Brand protection and loyalty are key factors for insurance companies to consider and Social Media as a marketing tool will play an increasing role.
It's interesting to note that next month (May 22-24) at the 2011 ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum, Biz Stone, American entrepreneur and author best known for co-founding Twitter will be the Monday morning key note speaker. Again, emphasizing the role Social Media plays in our industry.
Next year, the Life Insurance Conference will be back in Orlando on April 23-25, 2012.
Roger A.Soppe, CLU, LUTCF, is the Senior Director of Insurance Strategy, Oracle Insurance.