Strong life insurance, annuity sales expected this year - Global Financial Distibutors

Whether most of your sales are in life insurance or annuity policies, 2016 is shaping up to be an above-average year for insurance professionals, newly released polls suggest.

Approximately 66 percent of consumers say they plan on suggesting some of their peers – be them family members, friends or coworkers – buy life insurance, according to a recent survey conducted by nonprofit organization Life Happens. Last year when a similar poll was done, slightly over half said they were at least somewhat likely to make this type of suggestion.

While being likely to do something may not make it a guarantee, one thing most Americans are certain about is that life insurance is essential. Nearly 90 percent of consumers in the same survey

"Consumers are nearly unanimous in believing life insurance is essential."

said that for the vast majority of people, life insurance is a must-have.

Marvin Feldman, Life Happens president and CEO, said that these findings are reassuring, mainly because people need to feel motivated to buy coverage, understanding that it's in their interest to be covered.

"We're encouraged by Americans' understanding of the need for life insurance and their openness to consider purchasing it," Feldman explained. "While not everyone who shows interest in life insurance ultimately buys it, increased awareness of the importance and benefits of a life insurance policy is a promising development."

Many of those who already have life insurance don't own enough of it. It's estimated that 30 percent of Americans realize they need more coverage in order to more adequately protect themselves financially, according to polling data from LIMRA. Nevertheless, almost 66 percent ultimately won't buy more, believing it to be too expensive.

Millennials highly interested in combination products

One of the ways producers are making life insurance more practical is by combining it with other protections, like long-term care coverage, which is often needed by elderly men and women who have ongoing medical problems. Some rely on family members for care, but the amount is often too much for loved ones to handle on their own. When respondents in the Life Happens poll were asked if they'd be interested in a combination product, 40 percent said they would be. What made this finding particularly noteworthy was that this rate represented millennials. Ranging between 18 and 35, millennials may feel they don't have to address this issue right away because they're still young. According to several polls, most Americans don't have long-term care insurance, despite the fact that an estimated 40 percent will need it at some point in their lives, according to the Health Care Financing Administration.

Life insurance purchases are expected to increase this year.Life insurance purchases are expected to increase this year.

Most financial professionals foresee strong annuity growth

"Financial professionals are overwhelmingly optimistic about annuity sales."

A further indication consumers are taking greater interest in their fiscal futures are anticipated annuity sales. Nearly 85 percent of financial professionals project an uptick in purchases over the next 12 months, based on a poll done by income and business planning firm Saybrus Partners. Of these, more than half think sales will grow by at least 10 percent.

Ed Friderici, managing director at Saybrus, said that it's not enough for financial professionals to simply expect product offerings to sell well, they have to cite the reasons why annuities can be a smart move.

"It's essential to recommend products that offer both potential for upside as well as principal protection in any market conditions," Friderici explained. "While clients' portfolios may do well in a favorable economic environment, having diverse products that include protection against losses, income guarantees and enhanced benefits for extended care provides clients with confidence that they will be adequately prepared to address key retirement risks no matter how long they live or how the market is performing."