Tech, innovation and evolution of DC plans drive LIMRA predictions for 2018

LIMRA experts have put together their 10 predictions for 2018, ranging from sales forecasts to the impact of technology and the digital market. Overall, LIMRA anticipates a year of continued evolution for the financial services industry with new products and solutions, as well as shifts in the market and consumer behavior.

One specific prediction is the idea that defined contribution (DC) plans will evolve to provide more options for contract or independent workers. In recent years, there has been an increase in contract workers, changing the workplace landscape. Since they are not traditional employees, they were not as likely to have access to the same benefits, like a DC plan, as traditional employees.

LIMRA expects there will be growth in employment-enabled retirement savings, but not necessarily employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. LIMRA predicts more employers will enable their workers to participate in third-party retirement savings solutions. An example is the relationship that Betterment has with Uber, where drivers in select cities may use their Uber app to open (and contribute to) an IRA account with no fees for the first year. LIMRA expects employers will start using creative ways to tie the mechanics of saving for retirement together to balance contemporary work and compensation models.

The DOL estimates nearly 40% of U.S. workers do not have access to traditional DC plans. To address this need, some states now require employers that do not offer DC plans to their employees to participate in a state-sponsored program. LIMRA predicts employees will take advantage of state-mandated retirement plans, which would allow employees who might otherwise not have access to a retirement saving plan the ability to save through payroll deductions. Research has shown using payroll deductions increases the likelihood that employees will participate in retirement savings plans.

LIMRA research suggests some innovative employers might introduce hybrid retirement savings models. These models would combine creative plan designs and investment options along with fiduciary services to help expand coverage to more workers. This will enable more employers to offer solutions similar to traditional DC plans while also limiting liabilities and administrative burdens.

The study also predicts continued significant investment in InsurTech. There is a continued high level of interest in this space. Insurers are investing heavily in tech firms as investment opportunities and as partners, while venture capital firms continue to view the InsurTech segment as attractive.

Organizations will increasingly harness digital strategies and technological solutions to transform their business in an effort to maximize efficiencies. For example, as more companies leverage digital customer engagement tools, like chatbots, the need for basic customer service representatives is likely to decline.

Overall, LIMRA believes technology will drive a change in the talent needs of insurers and distributors opening up new opportunities, especially for data scientists.

For more information on LIMRA’s predictions for 2018, members can read the full report. Reporters are invited to reach out to our media team for additional information.


Agent retention to be a focus at LIMRA’s 2018 Distribution Conference

According to LIMRA’s latest Agent Production and Retention survey, almost three quarters of agency-building companies reported growth in their 2016 sales force. However, companies still reported low retention rates for agents who were within their first two calendar years on the job.

Several speakers at LIMRA’s upcoming 2018 Distribution Conference for Financial Services will address talent management and discuss strategies to improve retention and recruit agents more effectively.

“Though most companies in our survey reported a growth in their sales force, without focused recruiting the sales force would decline about 25% in one year due to agent termination or agents leaving the sales force,” said Patrick Leary, corporate vice president, distribution research, LIMRA. “With this in mind, our conference will include insights on how agency-building as well as other companies can better focus their efforts on creating strong recruiting and retention programs.”

Leary, along with EY’s Mark Hopkins, are the closing speakers at the 2018 Distribution Conference. During their remarks they will share early findings from a joint LIMRA-EY advisor study, profiling today’s financial professional.

Other featured topics include:

  • A panel on how InsurTech will play a role in the future of buying and selling insurance products, moderated by Jim Kerley, chief membership officer, LIMRA
  • A session on customer engagement, with Jon Cooper, CEO, and Jeff Wild, managing director, global operations,

This year’s conference will also include sessions on building a competitive sales channel in the consumer-centric environment and on digitally minded tactics for getting agents and advisors to use social platforms for selling.

LIMRA’s 2018 Distribution Conference for Financial Services will be held on Feb. 28-March 2, 2018, in Ponte Vedra, Florida. The conference typically draws more than 300 distribution professionals, financial management specialists and heads of distribution, sales, marketing support, product development and training.

To learn more about the conference or to register, please visit

About LIMRA: LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries. Visit LIMRA at