Slightly more than half of financial advisors are not successful at selling and advising their clients on life insurance, says a survey by Saybrus Partners released Tuesday.

Fifty-two percent of financial advisors did not describe their life insurance dealings as successful or very successful, the survey shows.

The survey polled 131 broker-dealer registered representatives, registered investment advisors (RIAs) and dually registered advisors at Pershing's Insite 2013 conference in Hollywood, Fla., in early June.

Forty-four percent of those polled said that over the last three years, no more than 10 percent of the clients have asked them about life insurance that would be appropriate for them, the survey says. Only 14 percent said more than half of their clients had proactively inquired about life insurance.

“This survey shows that financial advisors have an opportunity to fill a gap and educate their clients about the potential role of life insurance,” says Kevin Kimbrough, national sales manager for Saybrus Partners, a life insurance partnership firm. “Though most advisors work to incorporate life insurance into their clients’ financial plans, they are not as successful as they could be.”

When asked what was the most complicated part of understanding and selling life insurance, 37 percent said the variety of policies and riders, 25 percent said the paperwork involved and 13 percent said the frequent product changes.

Thirty percent of advisors said they do not sell life insurance. Of that group, half said it detracts from their financial advisory practice and 17 percent said it is too complicated.