While insurance advisors themselves may have to remake themselves, they also have to face a public perception that may not be altogether positive to the financial services industry, Michael Rogers, vice-president sales and distribution at Desjardins Insurance, told the Canada Sales Congress held May 23.
Rogers said few people know how the insurance industry works and the fact that it brings billions of dollars of benefits to millions of people.
Now, he said, the industry needs a remake and should be promoting the profession to the public.
At the same time, the industry needs to be transparent or face regulations that will make them so – an issue that has beset the mutual fund side of the investment industry, he said.
Rogers said the industry doesn’t want regulators to come in and impose rules on life and health insurance, whether it be on the manufacturing or advisor side, but to prevent that, it must be more transparent to clients. Not only will clients understand the insurance industry better they will be able to see the differences it has with the investment side.
“Probably more so now than any other time in the history of our industry we have lots of interested parties sticking their noses into our business wanting to know more about how we charge…for our advice, how we operate our businesses and how an advisor operates theirs and gets compensated for what they do,” said Jim Brownlee, vice president, affiliated partnerships, MGAs, Canada Life. “As we know, there are lots and lots of regulatory headwinds we face more so now than ever.”
Jim Burton, executive chairman and CEO of PPI, agreed and hinted that a small group of members in the industry would like to create a campaign for public awareness on the value insurance advisors bring to the table.
In an interview later, Burton said the insurance industry is often unfairly mixed in with the issues affecting the investment side of financial services, but he believes insurance has a tremendous track record that needs to be stated.
A public campaign of some sort would highlight the value of both the industry and the value of the life insurance advisor, he said.
He mentioned this at the Congress as an important project that he personally is interested in pursuing.