Agents the beneficiaries of a productive year at Life Happens
It’s been an eventful year so far over at the life insurance industry’s venerable nonprofit organization.
A bold new marketing program for agents, a robust Real Life Stories competition, more great social media campaigns and ramping up for Life Insurance Awareness Month in September has kept the small but talented staff at Life Happens (formerly the LIFE Foundation) extremely busy so far in 2015.
Insurance Forums had the opportunity to speak recently with Life Happens President and CEO Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, about some of the initiatives the industry-funded nonprofit is undertaking this year, highlighted by the June rollout of “Life Happens Pro,” a new self-service, online solution that enables agents to easily personalize, embed, email and share Life Happens’ full suite of educational insurance content.
“One of the issues that we have is that our materials are superb educational materials, but most people really don’t know how to use them or where to find them. So what we’ve done is we’ve developed ‘Life Happens Pro’ as part of our strategic plan to make it easier for companies and agents to use the materials,” Feldman said. “They now can put their name and their phone number and information on whatever pieces they’re using.
Since officially unveiling the initiative at the June MDRT annual meeting in New Orleans, Life Happens has been promoting Life Happens Pro as providing insurance agents and financial advisors with all the benefits of a full-service marketing team at their fingertips – for a fraction of the cost.
Anyone who follows Life Happens on Twitter or is connected to Life Happens on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media channels knows the organization puts out some very compelling information promoting the importance and value of life insurance. Allowing agents to tap directly into those materials and be able to customize them with their own contact info for a relatively small cost (the cost is even further discounted for members of some industry organizations) is proving popular so far.
“We’ve had an excellent response,” Feldman said. “We’re trying to make it as user-friendly as possible and push the utilization out, so it helps educate the consumer and helps them make the decisions that they need to make in order to use our risk-based products.”
One of the biggest challenges associated with the program is getting the content compliance-approved by multiple carriers. Feldman says Life Happens is actively working with the compliance departments from various carriers to get pieces approved, and then curating approved content on unique platforms for specific companies.
For example, Feldman says if State Farm says they only want to make 150 out of the 300+ pieces of material, Life Happens will get those 150 pieces compliance-approved and will load it onto the State Farm platform. State Farm will issue a code allowing its agents access to approved content, so the agents don’t have to submit something for approval every time they want to use a piece.
“When you start looking at the number of agents and the number of pieces and you compound that by the number of companies, compliance becomes a serious issue,” Feldman said. “So we’re trying to work with the compliance departments and say, ‘here’s a spreadsheet of all the information – you can go through it, tell us what changes you need, we’ll make the compliance changes,’ and then load it to the Guardian page, the New York Life page, the State Farm page, etc. Then it’s there for the agents to use and they don’t have to resubmit it time after time. It may be a lot of work initially for the compliance officers, but once it’s done, it’s done.”
The program has been in the works for a few years as part of Life Happens’ strategic plan, and really began taking shape in the past year with the help of a firm in New York that built the platform from guidelines laid out by Life Happens. It was beta-tested for a few months before going live in June.
Now, for the first time, agents and advisors have the ability to use Life Happens' full suite of educational insurance content, along with some brand new features. They can now personalize digital flyers and brochures with their own contact information and company branding, as well as download, email, share and embed digital content such as videos, social-media assets, online calculators and others tools to support their own marketing and client outreach efforts, directly from a secure website.
“For more than 20 years, Life Happens has created millions of dollars' worth of powerful educational insurance content and materials that are now available for agents to take to the next level to personalize for pennies on the dollar for what it would cost to create the same materials from scratch,” Feldman said. “Making it easier for advisors to utilize our resources furthers our mission to educate the public about insurance and reach more consumers in new digital environments."
Feldman says the goal was to roll out as much as possibly initially to make sure it was user-friendly. “As we get feedback, we may have to go in and make revisions and changes here and there, but that’s what you do in any new venture. But we are getting good feedback from the people that are using it.
“We listened to what the industry told us, we listened to the problems of the companies, the problems of the agents, and we tried to address those concerns in designing the platform to make it as user-friendly as possible and as compliance-friendly as possible while still maintaining the ability to have that third-party influence as a non-profit organization. So it’s not coming from a company, it’s coming from Life Happens – a nonprofit organization.”
• Are you using Life Happens Pro? If so, please share your impression about it in this new thread on Insurance Forums: Impression so far of Life Happens Pro?
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