It didn't sound so crazy to American General Life and Accident Insurance Company (AGLA).
While much of the insurance market is down, AGLA’s business is up 20% and they credit it largely to a product they call "Quality of Life…Insurance®." The product development and marketing was driven largely by what AGLA heard from women in focus groups.
Quality of Life…Insurance
So what is Quality of Life…Insurance? It's life insurance with accelerated benefit riders that cover critical, chronic and terminal illnesses or conditions. As the AGLA website says:
What if you suffer a heart attack, stroke, or invasive cancer and don’t die? Would your family be able to maintain their standard of living if you were financially impacted by a serious illness?
Traditional life insurance is designed to provide security for your loved ones in the event of your premature death… but what if you could get life insurance you don’t have to die to use?
The idea behind the product is that it can be used for life insurance if you die, or long term care insurance if you face a serious illness first.
Why Quality of Life…Insurance is a win with women
Insurance is a woman's issue. Women actually plan ahead and ask the, "What if?" questions.
AGLA’s CEO Jim Mallon had this to say:
"It was clear early on in our focus groups that women see and plan for life contingencies. There was more acceptance that along the way, things are going to happen. Women have more awareness of that.”
I've seen that in my research and work with financial companies as well. This is especially true when it comes to health issues and long term care insurance. Financial advisers and insurance agents I speak to tell me male clients say, "That isn't going to happen to me. I'm going to go out just like my dad, at the Braves game with a beer in one hand and hot dog in the other."
Many men often haven't really thought through what a serious health event would look like. Women have. Caretaking and health care tend to fall under their domain.
That's why AGLA’s Quality of Life…Insurance product is so strong. It addresses men's needs to be the protector and provider with a life insurance benefit. It addresses women's needs for a plan in case someone gets seriously ill. And it's all done with one product, so there's no choosing between the two.
Promoting women within the company
It always makes me nervous when I see companies who say they really want to do a good job with women, but when I look around, I see very few women working at the company or in leadership positions.
AGLA takes this seriously. My first encounter with the company was with Mary Jane Fortin, President and CEO American General Life Companies. 37% of the AGLA sales staff are women. If you aren't familiar with the industry, you may not realize how huge that is. The industry average in 2009 was 23% according to LIMRA.
AGLA also has a women's leadership program to mentor and support women in the ranks.
There's support at the top. I interviewed American General Life and Accident CEO Jim Mallon and his commitment is impressive.
So are the sales numbers – 57% of sales of Quality of Life…Insurance are to women. Quality of Life…Insurance products now provide over 20 billion dollars in protection/coverage. And the rate at which people keep these policies is the highest percentage in the company, surpassing all expectations.
Jim Mallon summed it up best:
"The Quality of Life…Insurance product has redefined the company, reenergized the sales force, brought new blood into the company, and propelled us so that everything is better than it was 6 years ago largely due to the product design and passion for telling this story. It's a vision that every one of our sales people and employees share – that “Together we will change the way Americans think about, purchase and use life insurance."
Still think creating financial products with women in mind is a crazy idea??
Stay tuned for more success stories about selling financial services to women.