Years ago an insurance agent was a staple of our culture. Back then it was a common for an insurance agent to travel door to door to collect a life insurance premium or sell a policy. Many retirees can remember actor Robert Young as insurance salesman, Jim Anderson in the television series, “Father Knows Best”. While today’s culture is significantly different – door to door salesmen of any type are increasingly rare, the era of the MetLife insurance agent is about to end.
Met Life decades ago had approximately 14,000 agents; now they have about 4000 and soon they will have zero. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that MetLife is seeking to sell its remaining agents to Massachusetts Mutual Life (“The MetLife Agent’s Era is Ending”; February 26, 2016)
The article highlights several reasons for MetLife’s possible sale to Massachusetts Mutual such as changes in the regulatory environment and increased reliance upon independent advisers. However, the end of the MetLife insurance agent is reflective of the times in which we live, not of the unimportance of life insurance. Unfortunately, the article notes that individual life insurance is significantly less popular than it was years ago. About 30% of U.S. households have no life insurance compared with only 19% from thirty years ago. This is a dangerous trend as an untimely death can have a devastating financial impact on a family. Please make sure your loved ones are protected if you should die prematurely.