Banks that set goals for advisors’ life insurance sales sell more life insurance, confirmed a joint study by Kehrer-LIMRA and LIMRA.

Banks’ sales of life insurance have been strong for over a year now, having posted five straight quarters of consecutive growth. Some 60% of banks set institutional goals, but only 42% make it part of advisors’ job description, putting the cart before the horse somewhat, according to Scott Stathis, Kehrer-LIMRA’s chief operating officer and managing director.

“What’s constantly surprising is that some banks say it’s a priority but ignore the basics,” he said. “They’ll have an ad campaign, but instead of setting goals for financial advisors they lump life insurance in with investment sales. Life insurance is the product financial advisors are least comfortable selling, so the strategy has to boil down to rep level.”

Indeed, bank-based financial advisors sell less than one life insurance policy on average per quarter, even though sales of the product behoove clients, who need the coverage, and reps themselves: life insurance revenues by reps with goals are 68% higher than those who don’t.

Bank investment programs keen to grow sales of life insurance should keep it simple at first to get advisors used to selling the product, Stathis advised. “A sales goal of one policy per month is a reasonable goal to start,” he said. “You don’t have to put revenue numbers behind it, just setting the goal at one per month makes a huge difference.”