by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Vice President, Agent Support Group


As I do every year at this time, I look back and reflect on the past twelve months.  As an industry, we have endured yet another roller coaster ride complete with huge drops, loops and no shortage of thrills. 

From a product standpoint, we saw some more changes.  There were reprices of term and permanent products. We also saw declining dividend rates on par products, cap reductions on Indexed Universal Life, more hybrid guarantees and a heavy emphasis on variable products. In addition, there was also a spike in annuity sales due to the highest crediting rates we have seen in years.  And let’s not forget on a regulatory basis, the Department of Labor is at it again, taking their toughest run at our industry in years.

Regulatory issues and product changes have and always will be a part of our industry.  We just can’t escape it.  It’s easy to get bogged down with the negativity that surrounds these  issues, but when it comes down to the lowest common denominator, we cannot lose focus on what we do in our profession.  

When I first started in the business, I worked for The Prudential as a District Agent.  All of the old-time veteran agents would tell us newbies that we will never understand this business until we had our first death claim.    Those words were so true.  Today, as a veteran of this business, I tell younger, newer agents and financial advisors the same thing. I also add a caveat to that stating that in addition to a death claim, servicing your first long term care claim is equally, if not more impactful in understanding this business.

I guess the messaging here is to focus on the true meaning of our profession.  After all, it is the original Go Fund Me.   We have the power to impact the lives of many with the stroke of a pen.  The quote below from John F. Kennedy is extremely impactful…


  “I can think of no more effective agent in advancing our freedom to live as we choose than the insurance salesman. This man knows the economic pulse of the country as few men may, for he walks all streets of American life and he sits down and talks to youth and to the mature and to the aged. He knows their wants. He helps them to help themselves in times of need. He builds, for he helps others to build. He insures the future. He is respected. And he is a friend.”


For 2024, take a step back, do some reflection of your own and make it a point to not get caught up with all the noise and negativity generated by the regulatory issues and product changes. Rather, focus on the things that you can do…

  • Provide income replacement for a premature death or disability of a spouse
  • Provide funds to pay off a mortgage
  • Provide tax-free funds to protect against a Long-Term Care event
  • Provide Estate Tax Liquidity
  • Leave a Legacy to the heirs of choice (family or charity)
  • Provide funds for business succession
  • Provide Guaranteed Income for Life
  • Ensure a college education for children
  • Create a bucket for additional/supplemental retirement income

This list can go on and on.   I hate the term, “go back to basics,” but I find that a lot of agents and advisors don’t think about that when dealing with their clients.  The interesting thing about going back to basics is that these areas are not gray. They are black and white. Regardless of regulatory actions, life insurance, disability income, long term care insurance and annuities have very clear outcomes that can solve many problems that our clients and their families face.

If the COVID Pandemic taught us nothing else, it certainly created an awareness of mortality for individuals and the affects it can have on the people they care about the most.   The products we sell address those issues head on.

There is never a shortage of topics to talk about in our business.  Just this last week alone, there were three Go Fund Me fundraisers in my township.  I am sure there are similar situations closer to home.  I often wonder how different those stories would be if the families affected by a tragedy had that “friend” that JFK mentioned. 

At ASG, we have many tools available for you to get 2024 off to a great start.  Book some time to speak to one of us about how we can help.

All the best for a Healthy, Happy & Prosperous New Year!