¿Examen seguro? No habla Español!

Opinion

All 50 states offer insurance exams, but  — as far as I could determine from online research — only two of them, Texas and New Mexico, offer the ability to take the test in Spanish.

“We as an industry ought to be up in arms about that,” said Duane M. Morrow, chief marketing officer and executive vice president at Primerica Life Insurance Company, while speaking to attendees during a main platform session at the recent LIMRA Distribution Conference in Orlando. “How can the industry embrace the fastest growing segment of the population when only two states offer insurance exams in Spanish?”

Morrow says insurance companies ought to be pushing for state insurance exams to be offered in Spanish and Asian languages, which would enable people who primarily speak those languages to get licensed and then sell policies to immigrants who also speak that language.

Hispanics became the largest minority group in the United States in 2000. By 2016, the population of the three largest ethnic groups (Asians, blacks and Hispanics) will be approximately 115 million, and Hispanics will represent more than half of that population.

I’m not going to say the life insurance industry fails the Hispanic market simply because it’s not reaching Spanish-speaking people with Spanish-speaking agents. But it is estimated that about one-third of Hispanics in the United States prefer to speak Spanish or are completely dependent on Spanish language communication. And currently, the vast majority of policies sold to Hispanics are being written by non-Hispanic agents who don’t speak Spanish.

The 2011 Life Insurance Barometer Study from the LIFE Foundation and LIMRA revealed that 58 percent of Hispanics don’t have insurance because they haven’t been approached by an agent. Further, 70 percent of Hispanics in the United States agree they need life insurance, but only 54 percent say they have any coverage.

Do you share Morrow’s outrage about insurance exams only being offered in Spanish in two states? Or do you see it as a non-issue? Share your thoughts via the comment tool below.

And if you’re interested in marketing to Hispanics, be sure to check out the following new related content:

About the Author
Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson is the Executive Managing Editor of National Underwriter Life & Health and Your Practice Channel Editor for LifeHealthPro.com. Prior to his current role he was the Editor-in-Chief of Life Insurance Selling magazine and Editor of Senior Market Advisor magazine. He has edited sales-oriented business-to-business magazines with an emphasis in the financial services sector for much of the past 15 years. He was also a key player in the 2011 launch of LifeHealthPro.com, and serves as a content director for the site.  Anderson is a journalism graduate of the University of Wyoming, Laramie. An avid skier, golfer, basketball and softball player, he resides with his wife and two children in Centennial, Colo. He can be reached at banderson@SummitProNets.com or on Twitter @LHPro_Practice.

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