For a majority of financial advisers, life insurance planning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Over half (52%) of advisers do not characterize the life insurance end of their practices as either “successful” or “very successful,” according to a Saybrus Partners survey released Tuesday. The chief stumbling blocks they cite are the number and complexity of the various policies and determining whether they fit a client’s needs (37%) and too much paperwork (25%).

Of the 30% of survey participants who do not offer life insurance coverage, nearly half (49%) state that doing so would distract them from their core business, while 17% say selling life insurance is just too complicated.

“Though most advisers work to incorporate life insurance into their clients’ financial plans, they are not as successful as they could be,” says Kevin Kimbrough, Saybrus Partners’ national sales manager. “From what we see they have an opportunity to grow and do a better job. The question is how do they gain that knowledge without diverting attention from the core of their business.”

About 70% of the 131 financial advisers surveyed provide their clients with life insurance when it’s warranted, but they find that their clients rarely inquire about it.

During the last three years, 44% say that 10% or fewer of their current clients had asked about possible life insurance strategies.

According to Kimbrough, this shows that advisers have a larger role to play in informing their clients about life insurance policies and benefits.

“While clients typically don’t ask about life insurance, financial advisers are uniquely positioned to offer guidance,” Kimbrough said in a statement. “This survey shows that financial advisers have an opportunity to fill a gap and educate their clients about the potential role of life insurance.”

Paul McCaffrey writes for On Wall Street, a SourceMedia publication.

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