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Shout Out to other Life Insurance Brokers

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In today’s blog post I thought I’d throw out some random links and comments to other sites in the life insurance industry. No particular relationship amongst any of these other than for one reason or another I find them interesting.

1) Steven Kobrick – this New York life insurance brokers states “I believe that every life insurance application should be approved as quoted.”. I mention his website because that’s quite a claim. I have every expectation that Steven actually adheres to his statement and would like to offer the same assurances up here in Canada. Unfortunately there’s some differences in insurance between Canada and the U.S. and underwriting and quoting is one of them. My friends in the U.S. are normally able to reasonably determine what health class (and thus what rates) you’ll likely receive, prior to applying. In Canada, no broker has this level of information from insurance companies. What we do know is that almost everyone gets approved at Regular health class, and we find out after you take the medical exam what class you qualify for. However we don’t know who will qualify for better rates. Chalk this one up as ‘interesting things they can do in the U.S that we can’t in Canada’.
2) Online Marketing for life insurance agents – Chris Huntley of ElifeTools is the Luke Skywalker to my Yoda :). Years ago I used to train other brokers on how to offer life insurance online through their websites and one of the brokers I worked with and trained was Chris. I’ve since long ago stopped offering those services to other insurance brokers, but Chris has exceeded his training and decided to now offer tools to other brokers. A solid guy, he knows his stuff.
3) Advantage One Insurance – Three in a row for american sites I guess. I’m good friends with the owner of this insurance company, and I’ve taken much of our internal technology process improvements from their lead. My discussions with him through the years have led Life Insurance Canada.com to be paperless and distributed, lowering our costs while increasing our customer service.
4) Financial services commissioner of ontario – the regulators who govern life insurance brokers and handle consumer complaints. We all live in fear of a call from them, may my phone never ring with a caller ID that says FSCO! 🙂 Note that other provinces have similiar regulators.
5) Foresters Life Insurance Company – I mention them because this Canadian life insurance company is such an idiosyncracy. First, as a Canadian company, almost no Canadians have every heard of them. Yet it seems Americans and others are very familiar with the company – located in Toronto they’ve got better brand recognition outside of their home country than they do here (this may have something to do with the fact they originated in the 1700’s in the UK, then fragmented into the U.S. in the 1800’s). Millions of Torontonians probably pass their head office each day on their way to work on the DVP, and still, never heard of them. And despite being mostly unheard of, from a cash/stability perspective they are one of Canada’s biggest. Their MCCSR ratio (a common measure of strength or stability) is around 400%. Most Canadian insurers hover in around 225%-250%. And lastly, they’re not a stock company but instead are a fraternal organization. This is a weird structure that means they don’t have any owners but funnel their profits back into policy owners and the community (they’re also not a mutual company, who are owned by their policyowners). A perhaps more well known fraternal organization would be the Knights of Columbus. Their fraternal organization roots makes more sense from their traditional name of Independent Order of Foresters, and yes, they were originally formed to look after lumberjacks! Anyway, for a variety of reasons, this company is an idiosyncracy in the homogeneous beauracracies that are life insurance companies in Canada today.
6) Actuarial Recruiters – People that start out progressing in the actuarial insurance field often digress into other paths. My early career trended that way, yet I ended up in the retail side of life insurance. Claude Penland started out strictly actuarial as well but he moved into the recruitment field. In both cases I think our early careers have helped our current career. Claude’s a great guy, we did some business together way back in the day!
7) Flo – from the TV commercials. I love her stuff. I know she’s fictional, but I can relate. Like me, she’s enthusiastic about risk management for consumers, and excited about savings. I understand and appreciate that perspective can seem a bit overboard, but in practice, don’t you want someone who’s enthusiastic about what they do for a living? After all these years, both Flo and I still wake up in the morning looking to insure folks at great prices.

Anyway, how’s that for a random smattering of life insurance post? 🙂


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