Wednesday, 28 September 2011

How to Choose the Best MGA!

If you are a Life Insurance Advisor in Ontario and you are trying to choose an MGA while entering the industry or if you are already in the industry and you are looking to make a career move, whatever the case may be, this is a big decision. Quite simply this is because the MGA that you choose will have to transfer all of your licensing over to them and train you on their products and services.

It’s in your best interest to do lots of research before making a commitment. If you find an MGA that you are thinking of joining, begin by asking lots of questions. Whether you are an experienced Broker with an established, high-performing business or if you have just started out, whether you are a captive agent or you are placing your business with several MGAs, here is some important information that no MGA wants to talk about.

1. What is their application turnaround time? One major challenge that Brokers face with their MGA is insurance applications getting processed painfully slow and having no control over it. The average processing time for insurance applications with an Attending Physicians Statement is an additional 19 days. An aggressive MGA can get this accomplished in half the time.

2. Is there a guaranteed call back/turnaround time? Some MGAs don’t return calls on time, and when they do, they don’t have all the answers. This can make servicing clients challenging.

3. What is their compensation structure? Some MGA’s compensation plans are not based on individual production and/or performance. That can result in weaker producers actually earning higher bonuses than higher producing Brokers.

4. What are their policies about you switching MGA’s (in case it doesn’t work out and you want to in the future)? Many MGA’s will make it difficult for you to move your license to another MGA in the event you decide you want to leave. It is important that you understand their expectations from the get-go.

5. Can you have direct access to Insurance Underwriters at the insurance companies? Many MGAs don’t like you to call the underwriters asking for help. In fact, they don’t even want to speak to the underwriters on your behalf. They feel their relationship with the underwriters will be at risk if they hassle them too much. They don’t want you to call them either, for the same reason. There may be occasions where you need to call an Insurance Underwriter to get your client the best deal.

Finally, you will be able to give your clients more options and you will be more competitive, if you choose an MGA that deals with all of the major insurance companies, as opposed to being exclusive or partial to just one. If you would like more information about how to choose the best MGA please contact Gary Mandel at IFCG by calling 416-849-1653 or by visiting

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Financial Segregated Funds Offered by Ontario Insurance Companies Prove to be a Good Investment

The Canadian economy has been stronger than the American economy. With that said, many Canadians hold investments in insurance products, stocks, commodities, real estate and more, both in Canada and the US. It seems that every time we turn on the news there is some speculation that impacts the economy.

In August 2011, the American government had its credit score downgraded from AAA to AA. The week following that announcement saw the American Stock Exchange suffer significant losses. In turn, the investment companies turned to the media to urge investors (both in Canada and the US) not to panic. That’s easy for them to say, it’s not them who have their entire life savings invested.

Some Canadians are choosing to turn to more traditional, lower risk investment vehicles, such as Segregated Funds. Segregated Funds can be purchased on a “low”, “medium” or “high” risk basis. Those who don’t have an appetite for risk can select a “low” risk Segregated Fund and still enjoy great returns.

In Canada, Segregated Funds always carry fantastic tax incentives. When you purchase Segregated Funds in Ontario, you can deduct the value of the Segregated Fund from your income at the end of the year when you file your tax return. The result is less taxable income.

Many Ontario insurance companies offer Segregated Funds. Many Life Insurance Advisors can arrange the purchase of a Segregated Fund on your behalf. Dealing with a Life Insurance Advisor carries a number of benefits, the main one being more choices are offered to you. A Life Insurance Advisor can tell you about products offered by both financial institutions and Ontario insurance companies.

If you are planning to purchase a Segregated Fund, you should first look at your tax return to see what your RRSP limit for the year is. If you want to invest more than your limit, you could also consider talking to your Life Insurance Advisor about the Tax Free Savings Account. You can leverage the Tax Free Savings Account deposit up to $5,000 per/year, and let it grow tax free!

To find out more about making a good investment and low risk Segregated Funds offered by Ontario Insurance companies visit

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Critical Illness Insurance in Ontario – What is a Critical Illness Classified as in a Critical Illness Insurance Policy?

You may have heard friends, family or colleagues discussing critical illness insurance or you may have heard an advertisement from an insurance brokerage and wondered “what exactly is critical illness insurance?”.

Critical illness insurance in Ontario is not like life insurance (something that protects you if you pass away). Critical illness insurance protects you if you survive a critical illness. Critical illness insurance policy holders will receive a lump sum payment in the event that they suffer from a critical illness, provided they survive 30 days from the date that they suffered the critical illness.

So what is classified as a critical illness? The number of illnesses that are classified as critical illnesses would stun you.

Heart attack, stroke, cancer, dismemberment, severe burns, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, major organ transplant, blindness, coma, Multiple Sclerosis, hearing loss, paralysis, loss of speech, kidney failure, bypass surgery, motor neuron disease (ALS), coronary bypass, major organ failure (on transplant waiting list), aortic surgery, benign brain tumour, heart valve replacement, kidney failure and occupational HIV infection are all classified as critical illnesses.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported that in 2009, about 315,000 (1.1%) of Canadians living in the community reported that they suffer from the effects of a stroke. Between one-third and two-thirds of stroke survivors will experience a loss of function in physical, cognitive or communication skills that require some form of rehabilitation.

The Canadian Cancer Society has posted that an estimated 177,800 new cases of cancer (excluding about 74,100 non-melanoma skin cancers) will occur in Canada in 2011.

Is this a harsh reality? Absolutely. Many folks view themselves as having lots of, or at least adequate insurance coverage and in many situations this is not the case. Sometimes, especially when there are many household financial obligations and so many insurance options, it may be challenging to determine which insurances and premiums fit within your budget and which are necessary.

Critical illness insurance really is a “win, win” insurance. The reason for this is, if you don’t make a claim during the first 15 years of your policy you will be eligible to receive 100% of your insurance premiums returned to you. This is only one reason that critical illness insurance is such an attractive insurance product.

Figuring out the right insurance coverage can feel overwhelming and it seems no matter where you turn (your bank, car insurance provider, mortgage provider, etc..) it seems that there is always someone selling something. Your best bet, if you want to find out what the right combination of insurance is for you, is to speak with a Life Insurance Agent. Life Insurance Agents also sell critical illness insurance, disability insurance, long term care insurance, mortgage insurance, financial products and more. A Life Insurance Agent will be able to tell you what insurance you should have and will quote all of the insurers (including the banks) to get you the best deal. For more information about critical illness insurance in Ontario and critical illness insurance policies please visit

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Insurance Agent Positions in Ontario – Opportunities are Limitless in the Life Insurance Industry

The life insurance industry is booming and it’s a great industry to get into if you like helping people. Life Insurance Advisors are in a unique position; they are able to offer their clients a wide range of insurance products and services.

There are a number of insurance positions in Ontario available to those who have obtained their license to sell insurance. Generally, these opportunities are offered by one of three types of organizations:

- Insurance Companies

- Banks

- MGA (Managing General Agent)

If you obtain an Insurance Agent position in Ontario with an insurance company or a bank, you will be required to sell their products and services, even if you work as an independent agent. The main benefit to obtaining a position selling insurance and financial products for an insurance company or bank is the brand recognition you will gain by being associated with that particular institution. This could be a positive or a negative, because if your bank or insurance company is receiving negative media/press or is less competitive than other insurance companies, this will have a direct impact to your book of business. Another downfall for working with a bank is that you will have limited access to insurance products.

If you obtain a position with an MGA, you will be able to arrange insurance and other financial products for your clients, with a number of different insurers. This is one reason why it is important to choose the right MGA. You work for yourself & the client, not the bank or insurance company.

As an Insurance Advisor, you will be more successful if you offer the most competitive products and choices to your clients. Smaller MGA’s may be registered to deal with fewer insurers or be partial to a particular insurer. If you are in the insurance industry then you know that managing your client book is like running your own business.

If you are looking for an Insurance Agent position in Ontario, with an MGA, research the MGA’s online. If you find one online that interests you, try to find information that answers the following questions:

-  How well known is their brand?

-  Are they a credible brand?

-  How many Insurance Advisors are signed onto their company?

-  Do they advertise?

-  What kind of training and resources do they offer their Insurance Agents?

These are all important questions to consider. You are making a career decision when deciding to work with an MGA or even an insurance company or bank for that matter. If you are thinking about making a leap from your current MGA to another one, contact the principal of the MGA and set up a meeting to speak with them about your career aspirations. A large enough MGA with good management will almost always consider giving an opportunity to an Insurance Advisor who is eager to pursue insurance as a career. For more information about Insurance Agent positions in Ontario and opportunities in the life insurance industry please visit