Voluntary sales will still grow despite the current economy according to Eastbridge�s Confidence Index survey

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (February 24, 2009) – Two-thirds of survey respondents in Eastbridge Consulting Group�s Voluntary Industry Confidence Index survey (year-end 2008) expect sales to increase in 2009 (as compared to 2008). This percentage (those expecting an increase over the next 12 months) is down from 82 percent at mid-year 2008 and 89 percent at year-end 2007, reflecting that respondents are somewhat less confident about the industry�s ability to maintain sales growth. In fact, 19 percent believe that the industry�s sales will decrease over the next year, up from 12 percent at mid-year. We also saw a significant increase in the percentage of respondents expecting sales to stay about the same (17 percent this time compared to 6 percent mid-year).

“We are pleased about the attitude of those in the industry,” says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. “We were unsure what this survey would find given the current economic news, but we�re quite happy that most still expect to see at least some level of increase in voluntary sales,” adds Lowerre.

” Interestingly, brokers were more �divided� on the outlook for voluntary sales than were carriers,” shares Bonnie Brazzell, Eastbridge vice president. “Only nine percent of brokers felt that sales would stay about the same, whereas 21 percent of carriers selected this option. Sixty-six (66) percent of brokers indicated an increase compared to 63 percent of the carriers; however, 26 percent of brokers expect a decrease compared to just 15 percent of carriers.”

The Voluntary Industry Confidence Index study is conducted semi-annually and includes responses from 120 different organizations active in the market � carriers, brokers, and vendors. Like other confidence indices, the index is a single number that compares the current results to a baseline measure. The first Confidence Index survey was completed in December of 2005; the results from that survey serve as our “base” year (meaning the index was at 100 for that year).

The Voluntary Industry Confidence Index report is available only to Eastbridge Insight and Information Partner companies as well as to participants. The survey will be conducted again in July of 2009. For more information on becoming a participant, contact the company at [email protected]

About Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc.

Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada. http://www.eastbridge.com/.