Broker attitudes towards voluntary sales for 2009 are upbeat, according to Eastbridge’s mid-year 2009 survey

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (August 26, 2009) – The latest results of Eastbridge Consulting Group’s Voluntary Industry Confidence Index survey show that confidence in the future of the voluntary industry has rebounded overall, but leading that rebound are brokers.

The overall Confidence Index increased to 92.9, up from 88.8 at the end of 2008. A look at the details by carrier and broker, however, shows that brokers were significantly more positive.

“In the latest survey findings we see that brokers are more positive than they were six months ago�and more positive than our carrier respondents,” says Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of Eastbridge.

“In the year-end survey, brokers were ‘divided’ on the outlook for 2009. Only nine percent of brokers felt that sales would stay about the same, 66 percent expected an increase, and 26 percent expected a decrease,” says Brazzell. Today, 81 percent of brokers believe there will be increases over the next 12 months, with one-third claiming that sales will ‘increase a lot.’ “On the carrier side,” adds Brazzell, “just 68 percent expect sales to increase.” Only a few brokers believe that sales will decrease (7 percent versus 19 percent of carriers).

Broker confidence can be seen in many of the other measures, too.

  • Ninety-three (93) percent of broker respondents believe they will be more profitable 12 months from now.
  • Brokers were significantly more positive regarding employee enthusiasm (85 percent expect employees to be more enthusiastic about voluntary compared to just 60 percent of carriers).
  • Eighty-nine (89) percent of brokers expect to acquire more new groups in 2009 than in 2008, compared to just 73 percent among carriers.

“We have said for some time that the attitudes of brokers will determine how we weather the economic downturn,” says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. “If brokers get discouraged, then sales may start slowing,” adds Lowerre. But, brokers are quite positive. In fact, 52 percent said that their sales were higher than expected. This is significantly higher than the 18 percent of carriers.

The Voluntary Industry Confidence Index study is conducted semi-annually and includes responses from individuals 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 Information Partner companies as well as to participants.

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.