The editorial "Blood on the floor" needs some challenging (Editorials, February 2-8).
First, the statement that Liberty has not set up a business focused on the emerging middle market is not accurate. Liberty some time ago planned to penetrate this market via its subsidiary, Charter Life. What happened?
Liberty has always operated at the higher spectrum of the market and boasted that its average premium was one of the highest in the industry. It is a fact that the higher the average premium, the better the persistence — the business staying on the books. This now seems to contradict Liberty’s latest statement.
Poor persistence is a sales-management issue. What has Liberty’s sales executive done to eradicate this problem — it is not the first time in recent years that Liberty has shown poor business retention rates?
The comment that Liberty’s client base and sales force are largely white and losing ground to Discovery Life is also questionable. I am sure Discovery’s sale force is every bit as white as Liberty’s, so why is it not having similar problems? Liberty as recently as last year in a radio commercial claimed to be the biggest writer of life insurance in the local market. Obviously this was poor business selection and it was not properly managed.
The editorial comments appear to be excuses for poor performance. Liberty has been an underperformer for several years and always has some story for letting shareholders down. This continued poor performance can be gauged by the Liberty share price movement over the past 10 years, which has been way below that of its competitors.
The final paragraph, which suggests Liberty shareholders should not give up as the CEO has a road map for the future, is cold comfort. The concern is whether there will be a Liberty in the future. Based on recent performance, one must fear not.
Time at Liberty would be better spent by the board asking hard questions of its executive, which must be held accountable, and finding solutions to getting a once-great company back on track.
R Jodesvia e-mail