Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Competition: Keeping Up With Insurance Industry Trends

Recent reports within the insurance industry have had a lot to say about the many changes taking place and their corresponding impacts. Competition is growing even fiercer as technology improves, and keeping up with these changes is critical. If you work with an MGA, it is imperative that there is a plan in place to counteract any revolutions within the industry. 

Here is our list of the top 3 insurance industry trends for 2013, what they mean for you and how to handle them. 

1.      Newest technology and programs. Advisors across Canada as constantly working to keep up with the newest technology and programs being released every month (and if they are not, chances are they are quickly falling behind the rest of the pack). Keeping up-to-date and up-to-speed can be tough, but if your MGA employs the newest programs and offers training to help you become efficient using them, you are already ahead of the game. Those managing general agents interested in their own success will provide this. Social media is also a part of this – don’t discount its power. Make sure that your MGA takes advantage of social media – you will benefit from a strong online presence.  

2.      Mobile and online quotes. Canadians are turning to their mobile devices far more frequently than in the past to complete everyday tasks – and this includes buying insurance. This creates some stiff competition, as well as increasing the need for rapid response (call-backs, processing of applications) and the ability to offer far more selection. As an advisor you need to be able to compete. Investing through insurance is becoming even more popular (i.e. segregated funds) so you need to make sure that you are able to offer a wide array of products – not just insurance. Social media plays a role here to – clients using mobile devices need to be able to find you. If they can’t that could mean a potential client lost.  

3.      Confidentiality in a digital world. Confidentiality has become a big problem in the insurance industry, even more so for independent advisors. Nowadays you have to be sure that client information is incredibly secure. If you work with a managing general agency make sure that they have technological programs in place to protect client information. Anything you take from a client has to remain secure within your system. If it doesn’t that could mean big losses and potential liability for both you and your MGA.

No matter what industry you work in, tech advances and industry changes can wreak havoc on traditional modes of conducting business. It is no different in the insurance industry, so be sure that you are keeping well-informed of these changes and implementing strategies to utilize and make the most of them. 

For more information about insurance industry trends and how they will impact you please contact Independent Financial Concepts Group at 905 202-8430.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Be In The Know: Top 5 Tips When You Buy Life Insurance

Life insurance is a must for the future, but it isn’t something that you should just purchase at random – you need to be prepared. When you buy life insurance, you are doing so to protect yourself and your loved ones in the future, so take the time to get the policy that best suits you.  

Want some advice? Here are our top 5 tips to consider when you buy life insurance: 

1.      Know what you need. This is the most important step, and these needs have to be clear before you even start looking to buy life insurance. Think about what you want the insurance for, who is or may become dependent on you in the future, long-term financial and life goals, and retirement income. A good insurance advisor will ask you about these things so it is important to reflect on them carefully. 

2.      Do your research. Before you buy life insurance it is smart to understand the differences between each policy and what the pros and cons are for each type of insurance. If you don’t understand the differences, ask. Whole life insurance is insurance for your entire life whereas term life covers you for a specific period of time. Other insurance plans may be more suited for investments – you need to be clear on what you are buying and why. 

3.      Don’t buy direct. When setting out to buy life insurance, never go directly to the insurance company – they can only offer you their products, their services and their prices (there is no room for comparison here). Also, because they are more interested in their own needs than yours, they will try to sell you all the unnecessary bells and whistles – don’t buy into this. 

4.      Work with a broker. Instead of going direct, work with an insurance broker. An insurance broker with access to a number of different companies can comparison-shop for you, offering you the policy that meets your needs at the best rate. They will also be able to offer various products, and you can be sure that you are more than just a number – their success is based on your satisfaction – so they need to be sure that you are happy.

5.      Don’t let price dictate your decision. When you buy life insurance, price should never be the determining factor. There are many cheap policies out there but cost often reflects quality – and so don’t go cheap. That being said, the right insurance advisor will be able to explain the differences in price and how each policy works. 

When you buy life insurance, make sure that you are getting exactly what you need. Let these tips guide your search. 

For more tips to use when you buy life insurance, please contact Independent Financial Concepts Group today at 416-849-1653.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Cost or Quality: The Cost of Life Insurance & Life Insurance Benefits

A common misconception with life insurance – and the reason that so many fail to secure it at the right time – is that they do not see adding the cost of insurance to their budget as a must, unlike other insurance such as car insurance. This is especially true with younger consumers. The actual cost of life insurance is far cheaper than many believe – and when you factor in all of the benefits that different life insurance policies carry, these seriously outweigh the financial cost to be insured. So what is stopping some Canadians from seeking out their own life insurance? 

The most common myths – that insurance is too costly, that it isn’t necessary ‘right now,’ or that it is just a way for insurance companies to make money – often keep people from even looking into the life insurance benefits that will become necessary later in life. A recent Financial Post article confirms that these misconceptions exist – but that they shouldn’t, stating that all Canadians should have some form of life insurance to protect their future. 

The Financial Post article went on to say that it is especially important for younger Canadians to secure life insurance – for more than one reason: “Not only does insurance give people with young families piece of mind, but the reality is, teenagers, and even children, should have policies to protect their parents from financial burden too.” 

Not only is it smart to get that protection in place for the sole benefit of financial security for loved ones, but the younger the person is when purchasing the policy, the cheaper the premiums. And depending on the type of insurance, these premiums may remain fixed for the entire duration that the policy is in place. 

Another big reason that people don’t seek out their own life insurance is because they have a false sense of security that they are covered through their employer’s group policy. The reason that we say false sense of security is because most life insurance offered through company group policies will cease when you stop working for the company. Insurance is more expensive as we age so if you lose your job you will be facing higher premiums later when seeking out your own life insurance coverage.

So what is stopping you? Is price the determining factor when purchasing life insurance? It shouldn’t be. The real cost of life insurance should not actually be determined until you speak with an insurance advisor. By doing this, you are able to ask the relevant questions and work with the advisor to determine the best policy for you. And when you are given the cost of the monthly premium you need to consider what the end result of the policy brings. Quality needs to be measured, and if your insurance advisor has developed the right policy for you, the cost of life insurance won’t seem nearly as high as you originally thought.

No matter what age you are (as the Post article discussed), having some kind of life insurance is a very important part of your financial planning for the future – whatever your goals may be.

For more information about the cost of life insurance and life insurance benefits, please contact Independent Financial Concepts Group today at 416-849-1653.