Put simply, at APEXA, we love learning. Learning new skills and perspectives helps our team to make APEXA the best product possible for our valued clients. We push ourselves every day to ensure we are always ahead of the curve and constantly learning, which is why you’ll often find us participating in workshops, attending conferences, speaking on panels, you name it! Whatever will get the creative juices flowing. As we highlighted in our August Newsletter, APEXA recently participated in a week-long Design Sprint workshop led by The Design Sprint Academy. Design Sprint is a time-constrained, five-phase process that uses design thinking to reduce the risk when bringing a new product, service or feature to the market. This workshop helps teams to define their goals, validate assumptions, better understand customers’ needs, and answer critical questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers. Workshops like this help APEXA to stay ahead of the game by enhancing problem solving skills, improving group dynamics, and ultimately, contributing to a stronger, smarter team.
APEXA is all about collaboration, connection and innovation.
It’s something that has slowly infiltrated almost every industry and proven it’s here to stay. It’s digital technology, specifically digital strategy. Although the insurance industry may have been slower than others to adapt to the influx of digital technology the fact is that we, as an industry, have to embrace migrating to digital.
Over the years, I’ve come to notice that we can lose sight of the far-reaching impact of what we do. Based on interactions I’ve had with many people, both industry insiders and the general public, there’s a common tendency to undervalue the importance of the life and health insurance industry to Canadians, our economy, and quality of life. We often overlook the fact that it can make or break the outcome of any given situation. Even those of us who work “in the business” are not immune to this mentality. At times, I’ve felt the need to defend our field, which says to me we may not be doing a good enough job at disseminating our message.
Here are a few key points that, as advisors and industry employees, we can keep in mind when working with clients. Sometimes all professionals in our field may need a little reminding of the scope and impact of the passionate work we do as part of the life and health insurance workforce (or at the very least, to remind us of our bragging rights).
If you’re an insurance advisor, the picture I’m about to paint may seem all-too-familiar to you. It’s the middle of summer, your clients and prospects are on vacation, and you find your work days getting shorter and moving slower. Before you throw your hands in the air and book a trip to Riviera Maya, know that there are advisors in the alternate camp, those who see summer as a great time to write business, develop future sales, review their annual plan, brush up their skills or catch up on all the industry change. Read these tips on how you can make the most of the dog days of summer, and you may just reconsider what your summer activities look like.
The sales landscape has changed drastically in the last ten years. A major contributor to these changes has been the increasing importance of social media as a selling tool. Prior to the emergence of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, sales were made mainly via word-of-mouth, phone calls, company websites, infomercials, and advertisements in the newspaper. Of course, these sales channels still exist and matter, but social media has become a communication juggernaut that can no longer be ignored as an invaluable sales tool.
This year, we’ve seen a recurring theme across conversations, panels, and regulatory bodies in the insurance and financial services industries: Fairness to consumers. You may read this and think that treating consumers in a fair and reasonable manner is common sense, but earlier this year the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) took an extra step in ensuring consumer protection by drafting The Treating Financial Services Consumers Fairly Guideline. This topic proceeded to garner attention on a national scale, and was discussed at impactful conferences including the Canadian Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (CAILBA) 2018 National Conference as well as the 2018 Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Compliance and Consumer Complaints Conference.
APEXA has been #ontheroad for a number of weeks, in part because it is conference season! I was pleased to have been a presenter or panelist at three of our industry’s most content-rich conferences. There are many compelling reasons to attend industry conferences, including the fact that in our world of electronic communication and conference calls, they provide an opportunity to meet your colleagues and to interact face-to-face, dialogue, stay current, share, and collaborate.
I recently convinced a friend to join me on a 3-day hike across the Trans Catalina Trail in California. After 2 years of building and launching APEXA I was ready to escape civilization and take on a different kind of challenge. This was no guided day hike. We’re talking on our own, everything on our backs for 27 miles and 1600’ elevation shifts. Luckily my friend was too busy to research what she was in for and booked a ticket on a whim. I knew that she had the fitness and mindset to conquer the hike, so I skipped further warnings. When the ferry approached the island and she saw the height of the mountains she turned to me, wide-eyed and said, “We’re going around those right?” I just smiled.
As a Life Advisor, one of the most important things you will do is pick the MGA or MGAs that you work with. Designed as the intermediator between the carrier and the Advisor, MGAs act as a necessary bridge between both parties. Working with MGA(s) can be beneficial to your business by providing services to aid with sales support, administration and training. The services provided by MGAs will vary from one to the next, but they often customize their services to an advisors’ needs.