Sales in Sun Life Canada’s career network are declining year after year. The insurer has explained why.
During the announcement of Sun Life’s first-quarter 2019 results, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tom Mackinnon pointed out that sales in Sun Life’s career network slumped by 8% in 2017, and another 8% in 2018, followed by 5% year over year. He asked where the insurer was positioning this network in its distribution strategy.
Jacques Goulet, President of Sun Life Financial Canada, pinned this decline on the insurer’s increased focus on quality rather than on quantity regarding its career network.
Recruiting fewer advisors
“I'll take you back perhaps 18 months to 24 months because we changed our focus a little bit, one from, I would say, just recruiting more advisors to one of improving the overall client and advisor experience? That meant a lot of changes in terms of the digital experience so that ultimately our advisors can work more effectively with their clients, deliver a better quality product,” he said.
Sun Life is recruiting fewer advisors because, with experience, it can now quickly gauge who will succeed or not, Goulet said. Sun Life’s career network comprises two types of advisors: more experienced ones and developing ones.
“Our career sales force is very strategic for us, but so is the third party. The sales continue to be good. If you go back seven or eight quarters, we're either number one or number two. We were number one for the full-year 2018,” Goulet added.
Goulet stands by his model. “Canadians are insufficiently insured, so we think the model we have is a pretty good one, and in terms of the CSF, very focused on digital and technology, and bringing tools to our advisors. It's stabilizing,” he concludes.