Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Keeping it Confidential: Your Managing General Agent and Confidentiality

If you are an insurance advisor you know just how crucial it is to keep client information confidential. Whether you work for an insurance company or with a managing general agency, you are no doubt aware of the hazards that exist should your client information make its way into the wrong hands – or any hands other than yours for that matter! Client confidentiality should be one of your top priorities, so when you are thinking about switching to a managing general agency it is important to know where they stand and what they do to help you keep your clients’ information confidential.  

Let’s look at an example of how client confidentiality can be breached. You’ve been working hard with a new client, working with your managing general agent and finding the client the best deal. They have purchased a product, given you all of their information (which of course includes all of their medical and financial data). You keep it all on your personal laptop, and back it up regularly. Unfortunately (and it is common knowledge that laptop theft is a real issue) that laptop gets stolen. Although you still have all of that information on that back-up zip drive – now the thief has it too!

In this case, an experienced computer hacker will have no problem getting through your password protection and getting access to all of those credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social insurance numbers, etc. that your client provided to you in confidence. Clearly that phone call is going to be an awkward one…

So how will working with a managing general agent help protect you from this threat? By providing the most up-to-date software and training, your managing general agent will be able to provide you with the tools you need to keep this from happening. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­For example, does your managing general agency enable you to host your data on a secure network? This is a huge asset to an independent insurance agent who may not have their own resources to set up a secured network for this purchase.

Not only should your managing general agency be able to provide you with the tools you need to keep client information where it belongs, by offering seminars and coaching sessions, your managing general agent can teach you the methods that their years of experience have garnered.

Working with a managing general agency often offers you far more freedom and independence than working for an insurance company. Great benefits, clients vested to you immediately, and the ability to offer top-notch service are just some of the things that come with working with the right managing general agency. Confidentiality is another important benefit. Taking advantage of the expertise and technology offered by the right managing general agency will allow you to take advantage of their experience and help keep you out of court and your reputation intact.

For more information about how to tackle confidentiality while working with a managing general agency please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Income for Retirement: Keeping the Dreams Within Reach

No matter what stage of your life you are at, whether it be just starting out, settling into your dream career, or on the verge of retirement, you need to make sure that your financial planning ensures your income for retirement. Not only should you be asking “how much money do I need to retire,” but also, “how can I save that money?” It is always smart to be ready for anything. 

With proper retirement planning, you can be sure that your income for retirement will allow you to relax and enjoy your time off. Whether you are planning to take that relaxing cruise down the Mediterranean every February, stopping off in Monte Carlo for a few nights, or just want to be sure that you can provide for your family while still keeping up your regular social life around town, you have to make sure that the funds necessary to maintain these lifestyles are available.

In order to answer the question how much money do I need to retire, there are many things to consider when you start planning your income for retirement. Your age, any dependents, and what kind of lifestyle you want to have are all factors that will influence the amount of money you put away each month or the types of strategies you adopt in order to secure income for retirement.

One of the smartest ways to ensure your income for retirement is through an annuity. By purchasing an annuity, you are basically securing guaranteed income on retirement. How? By making set monthly payments, you are guaranteed a lump sum payout when you retire. This means that you are continually putting away extra money each month, and once you can finally give up that day job you have access to those funds to use whichever way you want – whether it be the Italian Coast or your own backyard.

In answer to how much money do I need to retire, let us say this: everyone is different, but the choices that you make during your retirement planning will greatly impact your ability to relax during retirement and ensure that you have access to the funds that will allow you to keep doing what you enjoy. 

Are you asking yourself how much money do I need to retire? Solve the riddle that so many struggle with the easy way – speak to your insurance broker about guaranteed income on retirement annuities.

Take a look outside. Chances are this is not the type of weather that you will always want to enjoy over the long Canadian winter months. Keep those dreams of yearly snowbird trips alive by planning smart for your income for retirement.

For more information on how to answer the question “how much money do I need to retire,” or to start planning your income for retirement, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Why Your MGA Insurance Brokerage will determine the “Size” and “Type” of Clients You Will Be Able to Land and Service!

Different insurance advisors have different career aspirations in terms of the types of insurance products they want to offer and the types of clients that they want to have. 

Business owners and affluent clientele offer an incredible opportunity to insurance advisors. These clients are educated about insurance, more apt to expand their portfolios or purchase bigger ticket policies, and more likely to be interested in a diverse range of products. Most also see insurance as more than something that helps us when we die, instead looking at it as something that is a great financial tool while we are alive. 

While many life insurance advisors want to break into this market, it can be intimidating and hard to know where to start. Yes, those insurance advisors who have this clientele in their existing network have an advantage, but that’s not to say that you can’t crack this nut with the right resources.

Working with an MGA insurance brokerage that caters to this clientele will make a huge difference when it comes to breaking into this market. Here are some of the things that clients in this market will be looking for in you:

Does the MGA insurance brokerage that you work for offer a wide range of products that can be leveraged as investment vehicles? This will be important because those who have high incomes and assets will want to explore products that offer tax incentives.

Is the MGA insurance brokerage that you work for known for working with high income clientele? The brand recognition of your MGA insurance brokerage is hugely important for those advisors who want to service a higher income clientele, especially if they don’t have their own existing networks. A good example would be the difference between working for Sotheby’s or Re-Max if you were a realtor. People instantly know that Sotheby’s works with high end home owners.

Does the MGA insurance brokerage that you work with provide office and meeting space in locations where higher income clientele live/work, and is the “in-office” d├ęcor and experience consistent with one that a higher income client would expect? This is also important because while it would be great if appearances didn’t matter, they do matter!

When you find an MGA insurance broker that caters to the market that you want to work with, the vetting process is not over. It is important to question what other resources that they will make available to you. Will they mentor you? What are their turn around times on both phone calls and applications? Do they offer you the capability to have your own website with their branding? These questions and others are very important.

People identify with themselves and what they know. When an individual looks for an insurance broker, when they arrive on your website or at your office, they will want to feel like they belong. You don’t necessarily have to have contacts in a higher end market to penetrate it. Aligning yourself with a MGA insurance brokerage that is already there will greatly improve your chances of success.

If you are interested in working with one of Ontario’s top MGA insurance brokerages please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Life Insurance in Ontario – A New Year’s Resolution That Will Actually Stick!

With the holidays behind us, many of us want to start off the New Year with a fresh start. Your New Year's resolution may include planning to be healthier, perhaps by changing your diet or getting in shape. Or maybe your New Year’s resolution will include a plan to be more fiscally efficient by implementing a new budget and plan to save. Your New Year’s resolution could include making plans for your family’s future. 

One great way for Ontarians to plan for the future is by reviewing your current insurance coverage, including your life insurance – both to ensure that you have sufficient coverage and to even look for areas where you can save. As we navigate through life our insurance needs change. The type of life insurance that a young family needs is different than the type of life insurance a more mature family needs. In addition, life insurance in Ontario can vary greatly from company to company in both the cost of premiums and the coverage available to you.

Where life insurance in Ontario is concerned, time is not on your side. The older you get the more expensive life insurance premiums become, so it pays to make your life insurance a part of this year’s New Year’s resolution. Fortunately for you, life insurance in Ontario offers you a wide range of choices and benefits. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are - there are different policies available for people of all ages and walks of life.

Of course, life insurance comes in very handy in the event of an untimely death, but there are many other reasons why Ontario families make life insurance a part of their overall financial planning.

Life insurance in Ontario is a smart investment to make to protect your family and can be a great way to plan for retirement (guaranteed retirement income) or as a smart saving tool. So many New Year’s resolutions revolve around our personal finances, so why not get a jump on this year’s savings by using life insurance in Ontario as the perfect saving vehicle. For example, a whole life insurance policy can help give you the tools to invest effortlessly – making saving simple and easy!

What about your child’s education? Knowing the costs associated with a post-secondary education, many New Year’s resolutions include planning for that. Setting up life insurance in Ontario for your child can be a great way to get this started now – instead of scrambling after high school graduation.

You simply can’t afford to make life insurance planning a part of next year’s resolution. With December and all of its mayhem out of the way, make life even less stressful by insuring that you have created a secure blueprint for whatever may happen in the years ahead. There are many different life insurance products out there, so speaking with your Ontario insurance broker and discussing all of the options that will meet your needs is a great way to get that New Year’s resolution set in stone!

For more information about life insurance in Ontario and to tackle that New Year’s resolution, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group at 416-849-1653 or visit