For the past several years, ING has seen success in its multicultural sales. According to the company, they have been a driver of growth in its individual life and employee benefits business. Building on that success, ING announced it has added staff to further the sales efforts, particularly in its retirement services business. This multicultural sales team provides marketing and sales assistance, in-language and in-culture financial education programs, training, and other customized support to distribution partners, plan sponsors and ING's regional sales organizations.

"With multicultural populations growing nearly five times faster than the overall U.S. population, we want to accelerate our growth and leverage the opportunity in the market,” says Rob Leary, incoming CEO of ING Insurance U.S. “Our expanded capacity will better equip us to serve our distribution partners, plan sponsors and, ultimately, the multicultural Americans who are trying to save for their future and protect their families. This effort also underscores our continued commitment to multicultural markets, which are an integral part of the growth in our core businesses of retirement services, life insurance and financial solutions for baby boomers."

According to ING, these efforts support a need in the market. A number of recent studies have found that Blacks and Hispanics participate in—and contribute to—retirement plans at lower rates than Caucasians and Asians. They also point to the improvement of financial literacy and education efforts as a way to better address this disparity. Similar studies find disparity in Hispanic life insurance ownership when compared with the general population. According to a 2008 ING study, Hispanics are significantly less likely than the general population to have life insurance (39% vs. 71%) while they are more likely than the general population to say that they would need various protection should something happen to them. In fact, 89% of Hispanics said that someone in their situation should have life insurance, ING says.

"Our approach leverages ING's existing distribution and expertise while providing in-culture support that is critical to success in multicultural communities," says X. Rick Niu, chief marketing officer of ING U.S. Retirement Services, who also directs multicultural sales across the enterprise. "At ING, we have a unique opportunity to leverage diverse talents from within our large organization. ING's global presence, well-respected brand, diverse workforce, and our understanding of multicultural audiences position us well to continue to tap this large market opportunity."

The new team members are: Andres Vargas Escobar, VP of multicultural sales operations, to be based in Windsor, Conn.; Juan Pablo Troncoso Philippi, manager of sales support, to be based in Irvine, Calif.; Nydia Monarrez Lozano, manager of sales support, to be based in Tampa, Fla.; and Erika Contreras Escobar, business coordinator, to be based in Windsor, Conn.

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