New York Life Insurance Company continues to grow in the middle-income financial services market by focusing on serving women and culturally diverse communities. The company reports that the number of active sales agents has grown by 24 percent since 2007. New York Life hired 3,680 agents last year and intends to hire an additional 3,600 this year. Most of those hired as financial advisers spend less time with the company than is required to develop a mature practice; thus is the nature of the industry. I’ve criticized the life insurance industry for its sales agent development programs that give little regard to the ‘burn out’ of the majority of agents it hires.
I’ve noticed from recent anecdotal personal experience that New York Life agents are more likely to use hard ‘used car sales’ tactics rather than a consultative needs-based approach that is more common with life insurance agents who tend to serve more higher income clients. I presume they do so because it works better in the markets they serve. Yet I still suspect that there is also a strong and growing middle-income segment who are seeking more consultative approach willing to seek it out and pay for it that will not respond to the New York Life sales model.