The insurance industry is well positioned to grab more of the $16 trillion-plus in U.S. retirement assets in the coming years. This was the message given by Robert Kerzner, to 400 attendees at the 2011 Retirement Industry Conference being held this week in Las Vegas. The annual Retirement Industry Conference event is hosted by LIMRA, LOMA and the Society of Actuaries.

“Over the past 25 to 30 years, the life insurance industry has increased our assets due in large part to our increased focus on the retirement market,” said Kerzner, president and CEO of the LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global. “But our results pale in comparison to the success the mutual fund companies have had in this market. We have a major opportunity to communicate the unique benefits our industry offers to Generations X and Y, who won’t have defined benefit plans to rely on in retirement, and win more of the market share.”

Kerzner presented LIMRA research results that showed that people are feeling less secure financially and less prepared for retirement. He noted that more than 99% of people said that having enough money to retire was a major goal, yet only seven percent felt they had achieved it, with six in 10 people having less than $100,000 in household investable assets.

The industry needs to do a better job helping consumers systematically save for retirement, like many companies did in the past through debit programs, Kerzner told the group. “The 401(k) plan has become the modern day debit system, but what’s next? It’s clear the 401(k) alone is not the answer,” he said.

Kerzner challenged the industry to find better ways to connect with consumers of all ages and ‘cut through the noise’ to educate them on the importance of developing a lifetime income stream and how our industry is most capable of providing it.