Banks that set goals for advisers' life insurance sales sell more life products, according to joint research by Kehrer-Limra and Limra.

Banks' sales of life insurance have been strong for more than a year, as seen in five straight quarters of growth.

About 60% of banks set institutional goals, and 42% make goals part of advisers' job description, according to Scott Stathis, Kehrer-Limra's chief operating officer and managing director. Life insurance revenues from reps with goals are 68% higher than from those who lack them.

"What's constantly surprising is that some banks say it's a priority but ignore the basics," he said.

"They'll have an ad campaign, but instead of setting goals for financial advisers, they lump life insurance in with investment sales. Life insurance is the product financial advisers are least comfortable selling, so the strategy has to boil down to rep level."

Indeed, bank-based financial advisers average less than one life insurance policy sold per quarter, though sales of the product benefit clients, who need the coverage, and reps themselves.

Bank investment programs keen to expand life insurance sales should keep it simple at first to get advisers used to selling the product, Stathis advised. "A sales goal of one policy per month is a reasonable goal to start," he said. "You don't have to put revenue numbers behind it, just setting the goal at one per month makes a huge difference."

This story has been reprinted with permission from American Banker.

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