AALU members are currently attending the 2013 Annual Meeting in the nation’s capital, where they are learning from each other, building new relationships, and reinforcing to Congress the value of the life insurance products they sell to their clients.
On Monday, April 29, they received a “state of the association” update from AALU President David Culley, CLU, ChFC. He shared with them some of the successes the association has scored and the obstacles and challenges that lie ahead.
The job that AALU members are doing is very important to the U.S. economy and to the financial security of millions of Americans, he said.
The death claims he has delivered over the past few years have provided millions of dollars to beneficiaries—dollars that have kept families in their own homes when the breadwinners have passed on, dollars that have helped them achieve their financial goals and dreams. “This is what interests me and is part of the great legacy of our profession,” he said.
The association has been at the forefront of many important initiatives, including COLI best practices and the estate-tax debate. He pointed out an issue that is worthy of note: the association’s decade-long effort to establish certainty in estate planning finally paid off when Congress approved a permanent Estate & Gift Tax. This is a key victory for AALU because it brought certainty to estate planning for AALU members and the clients they serve. The association, he pointed out, was an early supporter of estate-tax reform and is very proud of this achievement.
The association has also recently held 60 successful fund-raisers. This task was accomplished, he pointed out, with fewer than one-third of the members taking part. “We need all of you to participate as we face many obstacles,” he urged.
Challenges and obstacles
Among these challenges and obstacles is the threat of misguided legislation from lawmakers. Congress will look for extra money as it tries to cover the government’s budget shortfall, and there have been calls to tax some financial products. “We know this is bad policy,” he said. ”Our job is to let our lawmakers know that it is bad policy.”
AALU members can achieve this goal, he said, by building personal relationships with their lawmakers. Without this effort, he said, the products that they sell will eventually be at risk.
The second challenge is recruiting the next generation of producers to replace the current workforce, which is rapidly aging. The industry workforce is getting old, he said. The average age of the association’s members is now 58, which is a problem for everyone involved. If trends continue, he said, 700 members will retire in the next five years.
To win this battle, the association must add to the ranks of the industry’s workforce and once it recruits new producers, “must show them how to succeed. We must serve as mentors to the younger producers,” he said.
In conclusion, he thanked the members and the AALU staff for their hard work and dedication to the association and the profession. “You are the best in the industry,” he told them.
What AALU members do to achieve success is not always easy, he pointed out, but it is the right thing to do. Each member dedicates his life to helping others, and they do it by choice. “Thanks for your dedication and for putting “service above self,” he said.
By Ayo Mseka