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Category: Digital · 4 min read

Where We’re Headed in 2019

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on March 7, 2019

author profile photo

on March 7, 2019

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How’s your 2019 going so far? We’re more than two months into the new year, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about where the financial services industry is headed in the next few months. The new year is a great time to reassess your business and identify the areas you’d like to grow in. Reviewing where the industry’s at and its trends can help you determine your own direction for 2019. With that in mind, here are five of the trends I’m referencing as I set my own business goals. Maybe they’ll help you, too.  


1. Annuities are on the Rise 

Annuity sales skyrocketed in late 2018, and that trend should continue in 2019. LIMRA’s Q3 sales survey revealed that fixed indexed annuity (FIA) sales were up to $18 billion, which is two percent higher than they were in the previous quarter, and 38 percent higher than a year ago.1 With the stock market proving its volatility, it’s possible that FIAs continue their climb this year, and become the go-to annuity product for the near future. Make sure you know the ins and outs of FIAs, so that you can accurately provide the facts and features to your clients if it makes sense for their retirement strategy. 

It’s possible that FIAs continue their climb this year, and become the go-to annuity product for the near future.

2. More New Regulations 

State insurance commissioners and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continue to discuss new regulations for the insurance industry. Even though the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule “died”, it still lives on in additional rules that are currently being considered by the SEC and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).2 The first of these best-interest regulations is slated to begin in August 2019, but there are already multiple lawsuits trying to prevent the regulation from going into effect. So, keep an eye on that this year. 

At the end of the day, the point is that regulations may be changing in 2019, so it may be wise to be prepared for whatever comes. This means being ready for another best-interest rule by learning the procedures you need to have in place to provide fiduciary advice. That may even mean updating your service agreement and pricing.  


3. A Push to Holistic Planning 

More and more financial professionals are taking on a bigger role in their clients’ retirement strategies, as they seek to include tax planning, health care, and longevity (meaning things like long-term care and estate planning) through holistic planning. And it makes sense. Many clients would rather have one go-to professional than several, and some financial professionals are adjusting appropriately. This can mean partnering with other professionals that can provide these solutions to their clients, or adding on additional designations and certifications.  


4. The Rise of InsurTech 

The InsurTech trend—the infusion of technology into the relatively tech-skeptical insurance industry—is growing, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. According to Deloitte, InsurTech investments in 2018 were expected to at least match the $1.38 billion in funds that were raised in 2017. Even though it’s changing the industry, you need to know that financial professionals are not being replaced. Yes, processes and the way you do things may transform, but they won’t make you obsolete. If anything, they’ll make your personal, human touch even better, and can help your business become more efficient and effective. 

As InsurTech continues to grow, keep in mind the three specific key innovations that it brings: Artificial Intelligence, online platforms, and automation. Each of these things can be beneficial to your business, if applied appropriately, and are worth looking into to see if they would be a good fit for you. 


5. E-Apps are Growing 

More and more financial professionals are filing applications electronically, because of its speed and accuracy. I know learning and adapting to new processes and technologies can be difficult, but think about it with me for a moment. Instead of travelling through snail mail, your submitted e-apps arrive instantly, which can lead to faster application processing and faster commission payments. E-apps can also be more accurate than paper applications, and can be easily saved, changed, and reviewed when needed. This streamlines the application process for you and your client, and creates new efficiencies to save you time.  

More and more financial professionals are filing applications electronically, because of its speed and accuracy.

Even though we can’t predict the future, these trends are already shaping the industry in 2019, and I’m eager to see where it takes the industry in the coming months. These categories hint at a need to be ready to adapt to the changing processes and regulations, and it’s important to recognize that change isn’t always a bad thing. Often, change can help you better your business and help you provide better service to your clients.  



1. LIMRA. “LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute: Third Quarter Fixed Indexed Annuities Smash Sales Record for Second Consecutive Quarter.” Nov. 26, 2018.  

2. Hilton, John. “Agents of Transition: The State of Insurance in 2019.” Jan. 2019.  


For Financial Professional use only, not for use with the general public. #19-0102-022720 

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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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