O. Alfred (Al) Granum, CLU, one of the true greats in the history of the life insurance industry, passed away at the age of 91 on Thursday, Jan. 2, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
This is a man whose enormous influence on the industry cannot be overstated. His legacy will endure, as his famous One Card System and timeless principles have long and will continue to help countless financial services professionals. Tributes from around the industry came pouring in upon news of his passing.
A lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table, Granum also helped the vast majority of his agents qualify for the MDRT, as well. Two of them, Dave Hilton Sr. and John Cruikshank, went on to become presidents of the MDRT.
Granum received the Dennis Tamcsin General Agent Achievement Award in 2000 for his lifetime impact on Northwestern Mutual, where he started as an agent in his hometown of Amery, Wis., in 1946 after a combat-laden three-year stint on the battleship Nevada during World War II. He moved to Chicago to work for his predecessor as general agent, John Jameson, prior to being appointed general agent in 1963. There he saw an opportunity to develop a method to generate leads, which would become the basis of the One Card System. Extensive research over a long period of time led him to the conclusion that it took 10 leads (suspects) to generate 3 prospects, and 1 of those would become a client. Thus, the famous 10-3-1 ratio was born.
Creating and publishing a system to build a life insurance clientele was not what Granum had originally set out to do, but he was indeed more than happy to share. As Barry Alberstein has stated, Granum wanted financial representatives to be able to understand the science of their business – “If I do this, I can expect to get this.” Prior to Granum, it was all based on anecdotes about what worked for another advisor.
As word of his agency’s monstrous success spread, Granum wrote about it in 1968, and the text was promoted by National Underwriter. That led to the subsequent “Building a Financial Services Clientele: The Ultimate Guide to the One Card System,” now in its 11th edition.