When it comes to recruiting agents, New York Life (NYL) does not do it in small measure.
“Our recruiting goal for 2011 is to hire more than 3,500 agents, with continued focus on young professionals, ethnic communities and recent college graduates,” said Mark Pfaff, the US mutual’s executive vice-president, in charge of US life insurance and agency operations.
He continued: “With more than 40% of American households reporting they need more life insurance – the highest level ever reported – the demand for professional agents in local communities across the country has never been greater.”
NYL’s recruitment drive follows its hiring of more than 3,300 new recruits into its agency force in 2010. This brought NYL’s agency force to 11,800 and the CAGR in the number of agents since 2005 to 16%.
In its 2011 recruitment drive, NYL is making extensive use of a new, dedicated website on which prospective recruits can learn about the company, career options, benefits and training, and view videos of agents and managers discussing their work and why NYL was the right choice for them. NYL is also using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube in its recruitment drive.
NYL is riding high on a strong performance in 2010 in which it reported a 38% rise in individual life insurance sales compared with 2009.
This represented the highest one-year sales increase ever achieved by the 166 year-old mutual insurer, and dwarfed the 4% increase in individual life insurance sales achieved by the US life industry as a whole in 2010.
NYL reported that sales by its agency force had increased by 29% in 2010. Based on agency force sales in 2009 (the most recently confirmed by NYL), this indicates sales of $1.04bn. NYL’s total in-force individual life insurance at the end of 2009 stood at $816bn.
In 2010, sales directed at specific ethnic groups accounted for 41% of NYL’s new individual life business. NYL has, since 1996, had a formal unit focused on African-American, Asian Indian, Chinese, Hispanic, Korean and Vietnamese ethnic groups.
Almost a third of NYL’s agency force is dedicated to these groups. In 2010, agents planning to work in specific ethnic communities represented more than 40% of appointments.
In addition to NYL’s career agents, the mutual insurer also provides life products through its Advanced Market Network of independent insurance brokers, who offer corporate and bank-owned insurance products, as well as insurance solutions for high net-worth individuals.
NYL also has an exclusive marketing arrangement with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) which provides it access to the association’s nearly 38m members.
According to NYL, its arrangement with the AARP has made it the largest direct response marketer of life insurance in the US.
The most significant products market to AARP members are smaller face value life insurance and fixed immediate group annuities.