What to expect at the 59th annual AALU Meeting

The insurance industry is a vocation of conferences, affording agents the opportunity to mix and mingle with friends and acquaintances, and rub shoulders with giants in the life insurance community.

But if there's only one conference you go to this year, make it the one that's scheduled next month in the nation's capital.

The 59th annual AALU Conference is only weeks away. Held at the beautiful Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, the yearly gathering runs from May 1-3 in the heart of Washington, D.C.

AALU has been holding the annual conference since 1957. Even in its infancy, the event played a huge role in providing professionals with the opportunity to network and find out the latest happenings on the life insurance scene both presently and to come. The event's reputation as the industry's premiere function has grown with each passing year, as has its exhibitors, which now number in the dozens, to say nothing of the plethora of proud sponsors.

Lots of workshops to learn from
Similarly replete is this year's agenda, which appropriately will kick off with a luncheon in the Exhibit Hall at the Marriott Wardman. After congregants have had a chance to interact with friends and new acquaintances, the business side of the three-day event takes place, namely in the form of workshops. From retirement planning to practice management, prospecting to wealth transfer, the workshops will touch on several aspects of the life insurance industry, all in an attempt to provide agents with more tools to hone their expertise.

"Technology has increased engagement, both for producers and consumers."

Taking a cue from last year's AALU Meeting, the 59th installment will delve into how innovations have helped insurance and sales professionals adapt to a changing consumer marketplace. For example, wearable technology is highly en vogue, as more Americans are taking control of their good health and well-being. In fact, a recent poll from nonprofit organization Life Happens reveals 51 percent of millennials are "extremely likely" to consider wearing activity trackers, like Fitbits. Additionally, these same 18- to 35-year-olds say they'd consider sharing the results with life insurance companies, the payoff being premiums discounts or other incentives that reward healthy behaviors. This is just one of several examples regarding how producers are increasing sales.

Though more life insurance policies are being bought and sold over the Internet, the most effective kind of selling happens at the personal level. This is due, in part, to the inherent complexity of life insurance terminology. A recent poll found that as many as two-thirds of consumers consider it to be as confusing as doing their taxes. The practice management workshop will discuss what producers are doing to cut through the red tape to make life insurance more practical and readily understandable.

Impressive lineup of keynote speakers
And that's just the beginning. Come Monday morning, general session will convene, featuring a veritable who's who of speakers, all testifying to the importance of life insurance and how it's affected them both from a professional and personal standpoint. Some of the keynote speakers include Frank Abagnale, fraud expert and inspiration for the film "Catch Me If You Can," former Navy Seal Jason Redman and Fox News Channel National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin. The veteran news reporter has been all around the world, but perhaps her most challenging assignment was overcoming breast cancer. She'll discuss her difficult, but ultimately successful, journey Monday morning on May 2.

It promises to be a three-day event you can't afford to miss. For more information on the 59th annual AALU Meeting, check out the official website.