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Agents the beneficiaries of a productive year at Life Happens

Brian Anderson

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.

Marvin Feldman

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?

LIAM resources now available

As August quickly approaches, it’s not too soon to begin planning for Life Insurance Awareness Month in September. To help the industry plan for the annual campaign, Life Happens recently announced the availability of its new campaign resources and marketing materials, including:

• Messaging from LIAM celebrity spokesperson Anthony Anderson on his personal life insurance story and the importance and affordability of life insurance, available through videos, flyers, social-media graphics and other marketing materials.

• New videos, including two “Fast Fact” videos that help break down the basics of life insurance and a series of four videos focused on the “True Cost” of life insurance to help educate the public.

• Three new Real Life Stories, in the form of videos and flyers, featuring the stories of exemplary agent-client service and the positive impact insurance has had in protecting families against financial hardship.

• A wide range of social media posts and graphics, which are organized by both subject matter and in a calendar format, to help agents leverage a Facebook post and Tweet for each day of LIAM.

Of the videos, Feldman says one series is designed for the industry while another is for the consumer. There is also an opportunity for customization for Life Happens Pro subscribers.

Anthony Anderson

“We taped a series of Q&A, so if a company wants to come in and put together their own video, they can pick and choose which questions they want to use to put out to their people or to their particular audience that they are trying to address,” Feldman said. “We’re trying to become a little more flexible in the things that we’re doing and how the industry can access the resources. So we went out and we said, ‘Well what would you like to have?’ They told us and we tried to comply. It can be individualized a little bit more this year than in previous years.”Feldman also noted how Boomer Esiason was a phenomenal success during a two-year run as LIAM spokesperson, but is excited at the potential of this year’s spokesperson, who has risen to stardom in a lead role in the TV sitcom Black-ish.

“Anthony Anderson is not as well known, but I think when people see the face, they’re going to go, ‘Oh yeah, I know him.’ He’s got a great story, and he talks about ‘The Insurance Lady’ that his family used to use and the importance of having the life insurance. He’s passionate when he talks about it,” Feldman said.

According to the 2015 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA, more than 40% of Americans have no life insurance. Standing in the way of many getting the coverage they need is the misconception of cost. According to the survey, 80% of Americans overestimate the price of a term life insurance policy. Many of Life Happens’ new LIAM marketing resources help address this misconception and emphasize the need for life insurance.

“With so many Americans uninsured and unaware of just how affordable life insurance is, the need for life insurance education has never been greater,” said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of Life Happens. “For the past 11 years, Life Insurance Awareness Month has given the industry a platform to inform Americans of the invaluable role life insurance plays in sound financial planning. This year we’ve gone one step further with the development of Life Happens Pro – a platform providing agents who subscribe with the opportunity to personalize our latest digital marketing resources to directly engage with the next generation of insurance buyers.”

For more information about Life Insurance Awareness Month and Life Happens’ resources for the September campaign, visit www.lifehappens.org/liam.

See also: Black-ish star Anthony Anderson named 2015 Life Insurance Awareness Month spokesperson

Applications being accepted for 2016 Real Life Stories

For the first time, Life Happens has opened up the application process for the Real Life Stories client recognition program early in the year.

Agents can get a jump on submitting a story about how they helped a client put life, disability or long-term care insurance in place… and how it was there in their time of great financial need. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 7, 2015.

If your story is chosen, it will be featured in a professionally made video and flyer, which will help educate consumers for years to come.

Plus, winners and a guest, as well as your client and a guest would receive an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas from Sept. 17-19, 2016 and be honored at NAIFA’s national conference.

Learn more and access the application at www.lifehappens.org/reallife.

• 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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