Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What is Mortgage Life Insurance?

When you are purchasing a home, there are many different things that need to be considered – most of which are very important.  Protecting yourself and your family is crucial for the future. One of the things that you absolutely need to think about is mortgage life insurance – but what is mortgage life insurance?
When you purchase a home, often one of the first things that you will have to think about is how to protect your mortgage. There are many different types of mortgage life insurance out there that will protect you or your loved ones in the event that someone passes away.
So, what is mortgage life insurance? Mortgage life insurance is sold by different types of companies. Many times your bank (or the insurance division of your bank) will offer you mortgage life insurance when they offer you mortgage financing or will market these products to you once you are a client.

This is sometimes referred to as mortgage life insurance, mortgage protection insurance or mortgage insurance. It is important to know that there are key differences when it comes to obtaining mortgage insurance through the lender who holds your mortgage vs. seeking out the insurance yourself, through a trusted insurance broker.
Let’s look at some of the key differences:

When will the policy be underwritten? When you obtain mortgage life insurance through a good insurance broker, the policy will be underwritten at the time that you obtain the insurance. This means that you will have to complete an in-depth medical questionnaire. This ensures that if something does happen in the future that the insurance company will have difficulty getting out of paying your claim. When you take out insurance through your mortgage lender, in most cases your policy is not underwritten until something happens. When you obtain the insurance, very little information will be asked of you, but in the future if you end up having to claim, the insurance company will ask questions then and will raise reasons to deny your claim.
Who does the policy protect? When you obtain mortgage life insurance through an insurance broker they represent you, not your mortgage lender. When you arrange your mortgage life insurance through your mortgage lender they will list themselves as the beneficiary on your policy. Your insurance broker will provide you with the option of listing your loved ones, allowing your loved ones to determine how the proceeds of your mortgage life insurance will be distributed.

How much coverage will I have? In many cases, when your mortgage lender arranges your insurance, your policy will state that the balance of your mortgage will be paid off upon death. While your monthly mortgage life insurance premiums will stay the same for the life of the mortgage, over time your mortgage balance will decrease as will the amount that will have to be paid out on a claim in the event that there is a death. For example, say you have a mortgage for $200,000 and your mortgage life insurance payment is $22 per/mo. 5 Years into your mortgage your balance is $170,000, your spouse passes away, the insurance company will pay your bank the $170,000. When you obtain mortgage life insurance through your insurance broker, the face value of the policy will remain the same for the duration of your policy term.  So, if you have a mortgage for $200,000, you arrange mortgage life insurance in the amount of your mortgage and your mortgage life insurance payment is $22 per/mo. 5 years into your mortgage your balance is $170,000, your spouse passes away, the insurance company will pay you the full $200,000.
What happens when you renew? As you know, your mortgage is likely to renew every 1 to 5 years. Every time you refinance your home, if you have obtained mortgage life insurance through your mortgage lender, you will be quoted on a new policy. This could change your rates exponentially because, as we age, insurance becomes more expensive. When your mortgage life insurance term policy is arranged through a mortgage broker it doesn’t matter if you sell, buy another property, or refinance, because your mortgage life insurance is not directly tied to your mortgage.

If you have just purchased a home or are thinking about getting insurance to protect your mortgage, mortgage life insurance arranged through a trusted insurance broker who deals with all of the life insurance companies is the way to go. Don’t get sucked into the convenience of obtaining life insurance through your mortgage lender without first knowing all about it. Instead, consider a mortgage life insurance policy that truly protects you and your family.
For more information about mortgage life insurance, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How Much Bonus Commission is Enough? What Else is Your MGA Doing to Support You?

When you are thinking about switching to working with an MGA, calculating your bonus commission is an important consideration. Knowing what your first year commission is going to look like is crucial. However, it isn’t the only thing that is important – and there are several other things to investigate before making the decision to switch.
Most MGA’s employ a relatively standard format for calculating bonus commission. As an advisor you need to get paid, and you want to make sure that you are receiving fair compensation for all of your hard work. After all, you are the one that put all of the time and energy into finding those clients that have put their trust in your ability to provide them the best services possible.
Although the percentages of the first year’s premium paid to you is what ultimately puts money in your pocket, knowing when the bonus commission should be higher or lower can be tricky. Although your bonus commission is an important consideration, it can’t be the only one.

If the MGA that you are working with gives you the backing necessary to make your job easier, providing incentives and training to allow you to be the best at your job, a small variation in your first year commission may not make a big difference at all. Garnering a substantial number of new clients each year thanks to the support provided by a good MGA is what will make your bottom line grow.
As mentioned, although the bonus on your first year commission is an important consideration, it can’t be the only one. If you end up working with an MGA who ultimately doesn’t provide the support and resources that are necessary for you to thrive, your bonus commission really is not going to matter. If you can’t get new clients, making money will be impossible. Having the support of a good MGA means a lot more than just the bonus commission.

Working with an MGA that allows you access to a plethora of different companies will give you the chance to generate the best possible rates and plans for your clients. Since clients nowadays can easily find out different companies’ rates, it is important to be able to go through the various companies to find the best deal. Since your bonus commission is based on new clients only, being able to find the most attractive deal is essential.
Finding the right MGA can mean more money in your pocket, and not just based solely on your bonus commission. If you are working with an MGA that provides you with support and motivation that allows you to be the best that you can be, you will have the opportunity to make way more money. Using your skills as an advisor while still being able to access all of the different resources being offered by your MGA is what, in the end, makes all of the difference.

For more information about switching to an MGA or to find out about bonus commission rates, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at by calling 416-849-1653 or visit  

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Baby Boomers – Is Your Pension Plan Really Going to be Enough?

With a rapidly aging demographic in Canada, preparations for your financial future should be a no-brainer. But, like everything else, some things take a backseat to current needs, and unfortunately it seems as though retirement savings is one of those things. Too many people see their pension plan as an appropriate financial tool that will provide for them in the future – but with so many different financial retirement products out there, it is questionable as to whether that pension plan is really enough to support you.
Recent census data has shown that, in Canada, the number of people over age 65 has grown exponentially – which should not come as a surprise to anyone – and that these boomers will quickly outnumber those who are under 15. More surprising though is the fact that, even though the life expectancy rate has risen significantly over the last few decades, many people planning for retirement rely solely on a pension plan without looking at the other retirement products that will undoubtedly protect them in the future.
Since the life expectancy rate has risen, it is essential to recognize that most of us are likely to live well past the 65 mark – meaning that money put aside for retirement is going to have to stretch pretty far. So what retirement products are out there that you can take advantage of to supplement your pension plan? There are many.

The two main categories of retirement products are retirement savings plans and investments – although the two can often work in tandem. Putting away some money on a monthly basis, into a registered retirement savings plan for example, means that you are making a significant contribution to your retirement income. Investments are also an important retirement product option to consider outside of your pension plan as taking some risks can mean big rewards. Even if you are a bit nervous about the risk, working with a financial expert can help lower the risk and help you maintain a sound financial investment profile for retirement.
These statistics are not just important for boomers or those looking to retire in the next few years. Since it is clear that income from your pension plan is not likely to sustain you for the years following retirement, why not start early and build up as much savings as possible. There are various retirement products offered out there that it is not difficult for members of generation x and y to begin a smart retirement savings plan to prepare for the future. Being smart about it now means not having to worry about it down the road.

If you have been working and contributing to a pension plan for most of your adult life, you will have access to some money to support yourself – but is that pension plan enough? Not likely. Investing in the various retirement products available out there is so important, and in order to ease the stress of growing older, supplementing your pension plan funds is critical – and easy!
To find out more about how to supplement your pension plan and to learn about all of the different retirement products and options available to you, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How Social Media is Changing the Way Insurance Advisors Engage Their Clients

Social Media Marketing has proven to be a game changer across literally every industry. It is unlike any other conventional form of marketing and it can sometimes be hard to put our fingers on how it can be used to attract more business. 

To truly engage in Social Media Marketing you have to set aside any pre-conceived notions that you may apply to conventional marketing because ROI from Social Media Marketing is more than just dollars and cents. 

In the insurance industry there are two primary ways to get business. Let’s discuss how Social Media Marketing would apply to these methods.

The first is through referrals from professional sources and existing clients. Through Social Media you can leverage sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to source, connect and market to referral sources and existing clients. Prospecting on LinkedIn for example takes professional networking to a whole new level. You can find the most professionals faster than ever before through LinkedIn Groups and advanced search.

Once connected, you can establish relationships with prospective clients by inviting them to meet or through messaging them about updates with your programs from time to time. This keeps professional connections and existing contacts connected and engaged. Through posting useful and relevant content you can benefit immensely if an existing client for example decides to share your content. When an individual shares your content, your content is now viewable to that person’s network. This is amazing because by a mutual connection sharing your content they essentially endorse and influence the people they have shared the content with. Studies have showing that 1 out of 3 people are influenced when someone else they know “likes” something that they were considering purchasing.

The second way that insurance advisors get business is through repeat business. Your existing client base is valuable. As life changes, so do your clients’ insurance needs. It is so important to stay fresh and current in the minds of your clients. By connecting to your clients using Social Media you are able to keep them up to date with new products and information. You increase your accessibility to them because now if they need to change their insurance, or require additional insurance or new insurance, you are only a click away.

If you have never engaged in Social Media Marketing, you may be confused about how to get started. The best thing you can do if you don’t have Social Media Marketing experience is get training and get your feet wet by beginning with one presence. For example, LinkedIn is a great way to source referrals so you may first want to focus on establishing your presence on LinkedIn. Facebook is also a great way to stay connected to your existing client base, so you may want to first consider establishing a presence on Facebook by creating an insurance group and inviting your clients to join.

Where training is a concern, this is one area where you should have support from your MGA. Because Social Media Marketing can be self-administered with the right training it is an affordable way that most insurance agents can market themselves. Social Media Marketing training will make you more efficient and productive and your MGA should be committed to your success, and that includes seeing that you understand and have access to the latest and greatest cutting edge marketing mediums.

IFCG is hosting a FREE seminar, “Making Social Media Marketing Translate into ROI,” on October 12th from 12pm – 2pm. Courtney McElroy, CEO of Marketing Force, will be there to teach you how you can use Social Media to expand your networks and grow your portfolio. This session is open to all advisors no matter which company you work for and is intended to provide you with the basic tools and skill sets that will be needed to self-maintain your own Social Media Marketing campaign. You can register for the free seminar here and don’t forget to bring your laptop.