Outlining the challenges facing insurance and financial services companies under the new economic and business landscape, Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, opened the 93rd LIMRA Annual Meeting this week by telling attendees that 2010 holds a silver lining.

“The good news is insurance sales are trending upward and consumers’ confidence in us is slowly rebounding,” noted Kerzner. “But as important as consumer attitudes are, it’s not the only thing on our plate. The changes in competition, regulation, risk, capital and distribution will have varying degrees of impact on the future of our industry.”

One issue that remains a key issue, said Kerzner, is shrinking distribution. He underscored the need to increase the number of producers and find new channels of distribution. Kerzner cited new LIMRA research that found the number independent producers declined—for the first time—dropping 7% during the period of 2004 to 2007. “This means we may have hit the point where sales could fundamentally affect the future growth of the industry,” he said.

Competition will remain intense, Kerzner predicted. While some companies may be reevaluating the individual lines of business they are in, others are jumping at the chance of growing in new markets to fill the space.

“Another clear opportunity is lifetime income,” said Kerzner. “The economic crisis reinforced consumers’ desire for a guaranteed check in the mail box every month, and they look to us to provide the vehicles to deliver it.”

The theme of the two-day meeting is "New Rules of Engagement," focusing on how companies can rebuild consumer trust, meet new distribution challenges and realign their businesses within a new framework of risk and regulation.

Nearly 400 senior leaders from life insurance and financial services companies worldwide attended the industries’ most preeminent meeting.

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