PENSION PUSHBACK Advisors take on the ORPP INDUSTRY ICON Forestersâ€™ CEO comes north
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14 Will high-cost drugs wreak havoc on health plans?
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UPFRONT 04 Editorial Educating your clients about critical illness and disability insurance
06 Statistics Canada may be facing rising healthcare costs, but it’s still coming in behind many other developed nations
08 Head to head Should insurers be able to get genetic test results?
10 News Analysis FEATURES
ASK AN EXPERT
If it seems like it takes forever to get policies issued, try these tips for speeding up the process
Foresters’ new CEO, Tony Garcia, has transitioned smoothly into his new role – and life up north
What the recent spate of acquisitions means for the future of the industry
12 Pension update Why advisors are speaking out against the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
Hugh MacDonald of Canadian Succession Protection Company on live music, Westerns and his other favourite things
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A critical discussion
MARCH/APRIL 2015 EDITORIAL
t’s a blame game absolutely nobody wins – not the carriers complaining advisors have failed to promote the benefits of disability and critical illness insurance, and not the advisors arguing carriers have yet to do the same. Squabbling aside, both groups have hit the nail on the head. While study after study – most recently one this winter by BMO – pegs life insurance penetration at about 72% in Canada, disability and critical illness come in a disappointing second and third at 37% and 16%, respectively. That’s a problem for all players in our mature life market. Still, it’s even more concerning for the aging Canadian population they serve, where household debt stands at historic highs and the kind of savings needed to cover a major health crisis slip further and further behind.
The problem … is multi-pronged and hinges on education and the redistribution of a relatively fixed insurance budget for most, if not all, clients The phenomenon begs for the protection disability and critical illness have to offer. The problem, however, is multi-pronged, and hinges on education and the redistribution of a relatively fixed insurance budget for most, if not all, clients. Clearly, engaging customers on all those fronts in order to reshape consumer perceptions is a task and, indeed, an opportunity for insurance producers. You can continue to expand your role as trusted advisors to Canadian families, guiding them through an expanding menu of financial planning and coverage options. But advisors do need the support of their carrier partners in that undertaking; namely, helping make the case for both critical illness and disability insurance. Whether that’s through a consumer awareness campaign or increased promotion of advisors and the crucial role they play. Now surely that’s something we can all agree on.
Editorial Director Vernon Clement Jones Senior Writer Nick Heffernan Writers Samo Ayoub Will Ashworth Copy Editor Clare Alexander
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Time to tame health costs HOW CANADA COMPARES INTERNATIONALLY â€“ HEALTHCARE COSTS AS A PERCENTAGE OF GDP
If you think Canada is struggling with rising health costs, just look at other developed nations
10.9% $4,602 per person
16.9% $8,745 per person
THE AMOUNT CANADIANS PROVINCES SPEND ON PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE ($ MILLIONS) BRITISH COLUMBIA
Individual 509 Group (insured) 2,113 Group (uninsured) 1,991
Individual 525 Group (insured) 2,394 Group (uninsured) 2,077
Individual Group (insured) Group (uninsured)
Individual Group (insured) Group (uninsured)
149 609 277
Individual 1,384 Group (insured) 8,602 Group (uninsured) 6,695
115 654 415
Individual 897 Group (insured) 5,910 Group (uninsured) 1,100
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
Individual Group (insured) Group (uninsured)
59 420 112
Individual Group (insured) Group (uninsured)
Individual Group (insured) Group (uninsured)
Individual Group (insured) Group (uninsured)
100 398 410
97 523 514
17 72 45
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9.3% $3,289 per person
11% $4,698 per person
11.3% $4,811 per person
11.4% $6,080 per person
11.6% $4,288 per person
12.1% $5,219 per person
9.1% $3,997 per person
NUMBER OF CANADIANS WITH PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE BY BENEFIT TYPE (THOUSANDS) INSURED PLANS
EXTENDED HEALTH CARE
Canada’s health payments by benefit type
Medical/hospital 48.4% 48.4%
Disability income 23.0% 23.7%
Creditor disability 1.8%
12/03/2015 7:46:05 AM
HEAD TO HEAD
Should insurers have access to clients’ genetic tests?
Some advisors claim it’s an invasion of privacy, while others argue it’s no different than a blood test
Past president CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF ACTUARIES
Financial security advisor DWL FINANCIAL SERVICES NETWORK
President and founder CANADIAN LEGACY BUILDER
Yes, if the applicant knows the results. It is essential to individual life and health insurance that the applicant and company have equal knowledge. If applicants are allowed to withhold an EKG, an MRI, a genetic test or any other test known to increase the likelihood of a claim, then the cost for everyone will go up, and that is not fair. Helping those unfortunate enough to have a genetic disposition to illness is understandable and laudable, but allowing them to pay an unfairly low price is not in the public interest. We need a better solution.
I personally am opposed to life insurance companies demanding or using genetic test results. Genetic makeup carries information of not only the applicant, but that of their parents, children, etc., based on their ethnic background, which may make them predisposed to certain diseases. Applicants might defer from having ... advisable testing done for fear of being rated or denied insurance coverage, subsequently putting their own health at risk. The insurer [could] deny or price out candidates who would need the coverage the most and only select the healthiest, lowest-risk applicants.
The Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner says the use of genetic test results isn’t justified and that insurers should not to use them in assessing risk. If that were true, then banks shouldn’t be able to conduct a credit check to decide whether an individual should qualify for a mortgage. If a proposed insured has completed testing and discussed it with their doctor, then insurers should have access to that same information. After all, it is illegal for a company to withhold information to shareholders, so what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
NEW LAW ON THE HORIZON? Canada is the only G7 country that has no legal restrictions on access to the results of a genetic test. Liberal Senator James Cowan is spearheading efforts to make Bill S-201: An Act to Prohibit and Prevent Genetic Discrimination into law. If so, it would bar insurance companies from being able to use genetic test results to determine whether to extend coverage to an individual. The bill has been before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights since the early summer, after it passed second reading in the Senate. It still needs to go through the House of Commons.
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A wealth of insurance acquisitions A spate of takeovers suggests the wealth management industry is looking to life insurance to grow its bottom line
IF NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI were alive he might allow himself a wry smile after looking at some recent life insurance acquisitions. The recent spate of takeovers seems to position life insurance as a means to an end: growing a company’s wealth management book. Advisors needn’t look any further than Manulife’s recent purchase of Standard Life, which added more than $6 billion in assets under management to the giant’s mutual fund business in Canada. After the deal was finalized, Manulife’s senior executive vice president and chief investment officer, Warren Thomson said, “This transaction also includes a collaboration agreement, which builds on our already established and successful wealth and asset management partnership with Standard Life Investments. We look forward to furthering this partnership to the benefit of both companies.” In recent years, Sun Life and Great-West Life have also made strategic acquisitions to grow their wealth management book. However, takeovers aren’t the only way insurers are including wealth management in their plans for growth. “That can sometimes be through acquisitions, or sometimes they’re just changing their strategy where they’re just going and selling more wealth management products through their financial advisors,” says MarcAndre Giguere, a Canadian financial services insurance leader at Ernst & Young. “There’s definitely been a shift over the last few years.” There are a number of factors forcing
“The low interest rates are really making insurance expensive, and regulations and the capital requirements on insurance are pretty high. It’s less expensive or less risky for insurance companies in the wealth management space ” Marc-Andre Giguere, Ernst & Young this shift, chief among them the current economic and regulatory environment. “[They] are pushing companies to change their products – they want less
costly products,” Giguere says. “The low interest rates are really making insurance expensive, and regulations and the capital requirements on insurance are pretty high.
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It’s less expensive or less risky for insurance companies in the wealth management space.” Consumers also are initiating change, as they increasingly demand more wealth management products. “It’s fitting the companies’ strategies as far as de-risking, but I think it’s also the consumer demand is around wealth management,” Giguere says. And advisors are doing their part, too – many brokers are advocating a prominent place for life insurance in a broader financial plan. “We are seeing brokers and advisors look at things more holistically, where they look at coverage for insurance and wealth and savings,” says Nazir Valani, a senior actuary at KPMG. “They want to provide both, so the insurance companies are reacting to this. Definitely there is a move [toward], ‘Let’s sell insurance, and let’s also get into the wealth management business.’” New product offerings As the industry shifts its focus, companies have started tailoring their products to meet the demands of the marketplace. “[They’re] answering a different need,” Giguere says. “The life insurance industry has always had products where there is permanent coverage with a savings component, but definitely as people try to save within their insurance plan, it will create larger funds,” Valani adds. “As people find out that insurance can be a good vehicle to save money and have it tax-sheltered, I think there will be more growth on the savings side, on the wealth management side.” Some advisors were ahead of the curve in this regard, but the majority will have to play catch-up to be able to effectively offer what consumers want and insurers are offering. “We have seen some of the shift,” Giguere says. “There were some advisors who were doing life insurance and wealth management, but they were really specialized in one or the other. But I think what’s happening [now] is people that have been focused on life insurance for a long time are now having to retool and really change how they approach their customers, be -
MANULIFE Acquisition: Canadian-based operations of Standard Life PLC. New York Life Insurance Company’s Retirement Plan Services business $691 billion Assets under management, 9% increase and 25th consecutive quarter of record AUM “When completed, these transactions will each accelerate our strategy to grow our wealth and asset management businesses around the world” –Donald Guloien, CEO of Manulife
SUN LIFE Acquisition: Ryan Labs Inc., a fixed-income focused firm that invests on behalf of pension funds and institutions. Started a third-party asset-management arm in 2014 $734 billion Assets under management, up 15% “We’ve had a great start in Canada with the launch of Sun Life Investment Management Inc.’s private asset class funds and LDI strategies, and the [Ryan Labs acquisition] is the next step in our growth. The transaction is also a perfect fit within the asset management pillar of Sun Life Financial’s four-pillar enterprise strategy” –Steve Peacher, president, Sun Life Investment Management, and chief investment officer, Sun Life Financial
GREAT-WEST LIFE Acquired: J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services $1.1 trillion Total assets under administration, up 40% $207 billion J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services assets under administration “We’re looking towards acquisition opportunities – the pension space and asset management space are areas where we’re interested” –Paul Mahon, CEO of Great-West
cause the conversation between wealth management and life insurance is very different.” Giguere argues this shift will give insurers an opportunity to meet new needs and communicate with their consumers to show they understand what they’re looking for. “But they are going to have to sort of retool some of their advisors and retool
“As people find out that insurance can be a good vehicle to save money and have it tax-sheltered, I think there will be more growth on the savings side, on the wealth management side” Nazir Valani, KPMG some of their staff to say, ‘Hey, the life insurance world is different than the wealth management world,’” he adds. So far, the larger life insurance companies have made progress in the wealth world by good marketing that’s attracting attention to their brands. But despite this newfound focus on wealth, life can’t be forgotten. “Even with the shift toward wealth management by some of the companies, there’s still a big need for life insurance products,” Giguere says. “So will companies come up with products that combine both wealth management features and insurance features? We see some of that for maybe the higher-end customers, but how do we get that for the mass market?”
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PENSION UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS ent Business have teamed up to offer PrimaPension, which is designed specifically for SMEs and their employees. Employees enrolling in PrimaPension also will benefit from life insurance policy coverage based on age and assets held in their accounts.
Defined benefits are pension red flag New defined benefit data from Aon Hewitt should serve as a wake-up call for advisors and plan sponsors. For the first time in three years, Aon Hewitt’s key measure of defined benefit pension plan health showed an annual decline. The nearly three-percentage-point decline in plan solvency in 2014 was driven by a decrease in long-term interest rates. The solvency ratio also declined between the third and fourth quarters by 0.5 percentage points.
ORPP-style plan proposal comes to Manitoba One of three people running to lead Manitoba’s governing New Democrats wants to create a mandatory pension plan similar to the ORPP. Theresa Oswald said if she is chosen as NDP leader and premier, she would work on developing a provincial pension plan — similar to one being proposed in Ontario — that would be paid for through contributions from employees and employers.
New pension product for SMEs A new pension product that will help small and medium-sized employers (SMEs) implement a RRSP or VRSP is now on the market. Standard Life and the Canadian Federation of Independ-
Pension funds slam proposed regulatory powers Three of Canada’s largest pension fund managers are protesting powerful new legislation that would give regulators “unbelievable” powers. In a joint letter, the Ontario Teacher’s Plan, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System argued that the Capital Markets Stability Act would give the proposed new watchdog unprecedented powers to order companies or funds under its control to do anything it deems necessary to prevent systemic risks in the financial system.
DC plans perform best over 2014 Strong equity markets led DC plans to outperform DB plans in 2014. “Equity markets performed well in 2014 and had a positive impact on Canadian pension plans, as did the falling Canadian dollar on foreign asset returns,” said Diane Alalouf, investments leader for Eastern Canada. “This was great news for most defined contribution members, but unfortunately was insufficient to offset the negative impact of the level of long-term interest rates for defined benefit sponsors, which skimmed 60-year lows at the end of 2014.”
Industry rips ORPPs THE PROVINCIAL government’s new retire ment plan has outpaced rising healthcare costs as the most pressing problem facing the industry, according to one industry leader. “Right now, because it’s at the forefront, [the ORPP] is a bigger issue than the healthcare side,” says Wayne Farrow, president and CEO of Benefits Alliance Group. “The healthcare side of things has always been an issue. It’s been there for as long as I’ve been doing this.” The Liberal government’s proposed new mandatory pension plan would force Ontarians to save and employers to match contributions to 2%. “We’re not convinced that they know what they’re doing,” Farrow says. “We don’t have confidence that this has been well thought through.” The province has sought comments on the essential compo nents of the plan – including defining a com parable workplace pension plan, a minimum earnings threshold and supporting the selfemployed – but the industry’s feedback doesn’t make happy reading for the Liberals. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said it is “extremely disappointed” with the Ontario government’s suggestion that existing workplace schemes – including DC plans – would not be considered “comparable” in the province’s proposed plan. “This stance would negatively impact DC plans and savings rates, not only in Ontario, but across the country,” says Frank Swedlove, president and CEO of the CLHIA. “Employers who took the responsible approach and estab lished these types of plans for their employees would now also be obliged to participate and contribute to ORPPs. In too many cases, we fear that they will either cut back the benefits of their DC plans or abandon them entirely. That view was echoed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber and its 160-strong network urged the government to defer the legislation that will pave the way for the ORPP, but to no avail. The ORPP, which aims to supplement the
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Canada Pension Plan [CPP], will require employers to match employee pension contributions, increasing the cost of doing business. For example, in the case of a business that employs 10 people who earn $45,000 each, the employer will be obligated to pay almost $8,000 per year in additional pension contributions. According to a recent survey conducted by the Chamber, only 23% of the nearly 1,000 responding businesses could afford the costs associated with increased employer pension contributions. “The retirement income challenge is a real one,” says Allan O’Dette, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “However, we need to ensure that any changes to the pension system are made with a full understanding of the impact they will have on Ontario’s business climate. We are not satisfied that these questions have been fully answered.”
“This stance would negatively impact DC plans and savings rates ... across the country”
Q&A: The effects of ORPP KEVIN O’BRIEN CFP, CDFA Kevin O’Brien & Associates
Industry experts are predicting doom and gloom if Ontario’s proposed new pension plan goes forward. Financial planner Kevin O’Brien shared his thoughts with LHP LHP: Do you think there is a retirement crisis? Kevin O’Brien: I think the biggest pension crisis Canada faces is the defined benefit plan that the public sector in general employs. I think if you’re going to take a swipe at something, let’s get that liability down. Let’s not fund that from taxpayers’ dollars – let the teachers pay for their own pension plan; let Ontario employees pay for their own pension plan. Or convert and go to a defined contribution plan, and get rid of the defined benefit plan completely.
LHP: What are your thoughts on the ORPP? KO: It’s just a money grab. It makes me laugh because the Liberals tell us that we’re not doing enough for our retirement, that we’re not responsible, that we’re not saving money – where’s the deficit? So we’re going to give our hard-earned money to the Liberals to take care of? I don’t think so. I think it’s the biggest rip-off going. The Liberal government should stay out of the pension industry because they can’t run the political industry that we hired them for.
LHP: It looks like the plan will take effect, though – what impact do you see the plan having when it’s launched? KO: I think a lot of the employers are going to get out of providing group RRSPs. DC plans are another thing she’s trying to kibosh. She wants everyone to have a defined benefit plan? Fine, give us the same one the government has and fund it the same way, which is from our tax dollars. I think all it is is a way of making money for the government. It has nothing to do with taking care of retirees. To me, if the federal government was serious, they would enhance the RRSP situation. Instead of giving you your marginal tax rate back, they give another portion back or take away the tax when it’s coming out and reduce it to the minimum of 15%. Make it so it’s a definite benefit to going into a RRSP, and that would basically take [the ORPP] out of the equation.
LHP: Small businesses especially are concerned about the plan. KO: I employ people. Right now I’ve got three people working for me. If this goes into place, guess what? I’m down to two. I can’t afford to pay that. You make these stupid rules without any regard for the small business owner who employs more people than the big businesses do. Leave us alone and don’t bother putting this thing in. These guys are interfering with my business.
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High-cost drugs threatening health of plans
“The provinces have started to collaborate on negotiating for drug pricing,” Frank says. “The challenge is they have not extended that pricing to employer plans and individuals.” For example, if a person is covered provincially, then they get a certain negotiated price, but if they’re not covered, they have to pay a different price. “That’s one area that we think needs to be addressed,” he says. “We think the provinces
“As the prescription drug landscape evolves, plans will need to keep pace”
AS DRUG claims skyrocket, plan sponsors’ confidence is plummeting – and it’s leading advisors and employers alike to worry about the long-term viability of benefit plans. “These rising drug plan costs have many plan sponsors concerned with the sustainability and affordability of their group benefits plans,” says Loretta Kulchycki, vice president of group marketing at Great-West Life. Prescription drug benefits play a significant role in the overall health and well-being of an organization’s employees, contributing to a more productive and satisfied workforce. But the costs of keeping these plans is coming at a heavy price. Between 2008 to 2013, IMS Brogan
reported that biologic and specialty drug costs by pay-direct private drug plans in Canada grew from approximately 12% of total drug spending to approximately 21% ($1.3 billion). “Pricing is quite problematic,” says Stephen Frank, vice president of policy development and health with the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association [CLHIA]. “Prices vary across the province; they vary by employer. We really need to tackle that and get to a more standardized pricing level for everybody, and we think we can do that collaboratively with government and within our industry.” The CLHIA believes the solution lies in industry and government collaboration.
Millennials force advisors to walk health-plan tightrope A report by Aon Hewitt found that while millennials put a lower priority on medical care than other generations, they are the most likely to want employers to play an active role in supporting their overall health and well-being. According to the analysis, millennials are the least likely to participate in activities focused on prevention and maintaining or improving physical health. “Given their younger age, most millennials are relatively healthy, so they may not feel a sense of urgency to go to the doctor regularly or eat a well-balanced diet,” said Ray Baumruk, employee research leader at Aon Hewitt.
should be negotiating on behalf of all and sharing those prices with everyone. We’ve been urging for that to happen for several years now and continue to argue that’s the right way to go.” The CLHIA also has introduced a national pool that it runs on behalf of the private sector for insured plans. The cost-savings tool has been in place for about two years and has helped tame prices slightly. “As the prescription drug landscape evolves, plans will need to keep pace,” Kulchycki says. “Issues like provincial drug reform and new high-cost biologic and specialty treatment options are presenting challenges and opportunities for drug plan management. For example, new high-cost breakthrough treatments for Hepatitis C are poised to significantly drive drug spending increases over the next few years.”
Canadian advisors dodge Zenefits bullet A new US platform that has health advisors south of the border running scared isn’t on its way north. Zenefits is a cloud-based HR platform that connects to existing third-party systems, helping small and mid-sized businesses outsource health insurance, eliminating the need for health advisors. A US broker recently commented to the San Jose Mercury News that “every broker in the country is scared now of Zenefits.” However, a PR representative told LHP the company currently has no plans to launch in Canada.
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Q&A: Adapting to the high-cost landscape With new drugs driving up plan costs, LHP turned to Robert McCullagh to get some advice on how advisors can help their clients cope ROBERT MCCULLAGH Financial advisor, Benefit Planners Inc. Former chair, Advocis
LHP: How are you coping with the large, sometimes catastrophic drug claims that are impacting health and benefit plans? Robert McCullagh: Right now, we’re having the conversation between acute drugs (for immediate ailments) and maintenance (chronic condition) drugs. Maintenance is a certain problem as well. And looking at the whole program, I think the industry itself is going to have a very interesting transition in the next little while as we move forward with having to cope with these burdens. I’m not trying not to answer the question, but a lot of it hasn’t been sorted through. We’re not far enough along yet. We know it’s out there; we know it’s a concern; we know it’s coming, but we don’t exactly know how we’re going to deal with it.
LHP: Is it having any impact now, or is the impact going to be felt down the line? RM: I’ve seen an increased inquiry from business owners who are coping with biologics coming into their program and requiring strategies on how to fund it. We’re currently using some of the different strategies that are out there. One of them is the idea that each of the particular drug companies that have these drugs have some costing strategies, and if you go their website, there’s some support specific to them.
Advisors missing critical opportunity Advisors are missing an opportunity to capture the critical illness insurance market. According to a BMO study, two-thirds of Canadians believe that developing a critical illness would have a significant financial impact on their family’s standard of living, yet only 16% of Canadians have purchased insurance policies that cover death, critical illness and disability. Study respondents cited expense (38%), their good health (27%) and adequate work coverage (26%) as the top reasons for declining coverage.
LHP: Any other strategies you’ve found to be successful? RM: I’ve seen some people who have been supported by Alberta Blue Cross, as well as a group plan, to try and mitigate that risk out. It all depends.
“I would suggest that adaption is the key to survival” LHP: Given how high some of these prices are, is it sustainable going forward? RM: I don’t have an answer to that. I would suggest that adaption is the key to survival. We’ll need to adapt plans; we’ll need to adapt purchasing; we’ll need to adapt the things we do so that people can survive.
LHP: What can advisors do to help plan sponsors manage these costs? RM: Identify, communicate, explore options – let clients know these things can occur. I think it’s around communication and planning.
Drug pooling initiative proves its worth The Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation [CDIPC] is already proving its value – the number of high-cost prescription drug claims Canada’s private insurers covered for Canadians with fully insured supplementary health insurance plans has doubled in the CDIPC’s first year of operation. “Without this system, many Canadians would be left without access to the prescription drugs they need to help them deal with rare and often life-threatening conditions,” said Frank Swedlove, president of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.
Medical plan cost increases to dip in 2015 Globally, the average cost increase for employer-sponsored medical plans will dip slightly in 2015 but continue to exceed general inflation levels, according to a new report. “There are three fundamental factors driving what is now a long-established pattern of high medical plan cost increases ... including ever-increasing utilization of private medical plans – especially in emerging markets – the aging of the world population and a higher incidence of chronic conditions for the working population,” said Wil Gaitan, senior vice president of global benefits at Aon Hewitt.
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ASK AN EXPERT
Why does it take so long to get my policies issued? Believe it or not, policies are getting issued faster than ever before. Now advisors can further speed the process. Marylou Dunn, vice president and chief underwriter for Munich Re, explains how
YOU’VE MET the client, completed the application and sent it to head office. At this point, it seems like the heavy lifting has been done – so why does it feel like it takes so long to get a policy issued? In fact, companies are getting policies underwritten and into the hands of the advisors with growing rapidity. Recent studies have shown that placement time has been reduced by four to six days since 2012. The two main factors driving this change? Technology and people. Technology Large investments in smart systems and electronic applications are paying off. Information gets to insurance companies in a format that is complete, easily transmissible and typically with enough information to enable to them to quickly process the application and get back to the advisor. Expert underwriting systems that prescreen an applicant’s responses to questions allow underwriters to focus their attention on outliers – people applying for large amounts of coverage, those with significant medical history, those engaging in risky avocations or older ages. Technology responds to changing demographics and customer profiles. Younger users are tech-savvy and demand an immediate and transactional approach. New, simplified products for life and critical illness appeal to this mindset. With shorter application forms and fewer underwriting requirements, the policy can be in the purchaser’s hands much more quickly. Embracing these electronic application systems will support continued improvement in turnaround times and reduce the number of amendments required on policy delivery. For those who still prefer to use a paper application, ensuring that the forms are fully completed before submitting them to head office will ease handling. Incomplete or missing information can prevent the case from being set up and rather than being issued quickly, it’s referred to a pending queue to sit while the advisor has to track down the applicant for missing information. Each handling increases the wait time and threatens the success of the sale.
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People Increased use of tele-interviewing and conscious efforts by insurance companies to reduce the number of Attending Physicians’ Statements [APS] have been contributing to faster turnaround times, too. The advisor can play a key role in reducing waits by preparing a client for the tele-interview, paramed, blood draw or call from the inspection company. That way there are no surprises. The applicants understand the kinds of questions they will be asked and tests that will be done. Time isn’t wasted due to rescheduling or callbacks for missing information such as medications, names of specialists, reasons for the consultation and tests completed. Advisors’ preparation should include coaching applicants to give full disclosure during the tele-interview. For underwriters, their job is to dig deep into the facts to get the truth. Full disclosure by the client will speed up the process and ensure there are no surprises at claim time. In many cases, the more comfortable clients are with answering the medical and non-medical questions and the more information they can provide to the interviewer, the less likely underwriter will have to resort to an APS to fill in the details. That being said, APS reports are valuable tools in risk assessment – particularly for older people with significant medical history, including cancer, heart disease or diabetes. This is where the placement time gets longer. The wait for a doctor to respond is out of the underwriter’s control, and some companies have reported it can take an average of 18 days to get an APS. That’s why insurers need to know up front about every doctor a client has seen – not just their usual physician. Imagine waiting for the APS, only to discover that a second report must be obtained from another doctor who wasn’t previously mentioned. This is a detail-driven industry, so sweat the small stuff. Don’t skip questions – get doctor names, medications, dates seen, etc. There can never be too much detail. The more information the underwriter has upfront, the fewer questionnaires, phone calls, doctors’ reports and amendments. Certain markets, such as the mature age
Will we ever get to the day of 100% instant issue coverage? I doubt it. However, we can and are getting better at getting policies into the client’s hands quickly and efficiently, and this is good news for all markets, call for special handling. Be prepared for more requirements when dealing with complicated medical history, multiple impairments and more than one doctor’s report. Will we ever get to the day of 100% instant issue coverage? I doubt it. However, we can and are getting better at getting policies into the client’s hands quickly and efficiently, and this is good news for all. We have
a mutual goal to put profitable business on the books. Underwriters are trying to balance risk assessment, cost and time to underwrite. A very important consumer need is satisfied, insurance companies are putting good business on the books, and advisors are compensated. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. Communication, respect and openly sharing knowledge are the keys to success.
THE BIGGEST DO’S AND DON’TS FOR ADVISORS
DO INCLUDE A COVER LETTER I can’t overstate the value of a cover letter. By the time you’ve had the client fill out an application, you’ve invested substantial time and energy meeting with him or her to develop a personalized financial plan. You understand the applicant’s needs and motivation for purchasing life critical illness or disability insurance. Telling the underwriter this type of background – the purpose of the coverage and how the face amount was determined – will go a long way to ease your case through the underwriting process. If the insurance coverage is necessary to secure a loan, provide the loan details. If it’s business-related, will it cover share redemption, buy/sell, key person? What other business members are being covered and for how much? If it’s key person, how is that person key to the organization? A business title doesn’t always demonstrate the financial loss to the business of an untimely death. The underwriter needs to understand the financial impact of the loss of that person’s skills to the
business. What are his or her unique skills, and how has this been quantified in the sale? All of this information in a good cover letter will give the underwriter most of what is needed to make a decision. Without the letter or with an incomplete version, there will likely be correspondence back and forth with the advisor to get the requisite information, taking up valuable time.
DON’T WITHHOLD INFORMATION Never tie the underwriters’ hands by telling the inspection company not to ask certain information unless you have cleared this first. Underwriters need appropriate checks and balances to make sure they have a complete and comprehensive understanding of the applicant’s medical and financial history before committing the company to the risk. We see many inspection reports where the inspection company has been told by the advisor not to ask any financial questions. Instead of being able to approve the case when the inspection report comes in, the underwriter needs to regroup and try to develop this information elsewhere.
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MAKING HIS MOVE Foresters’ new CEO, Tony Garcia, is busy trying to survive not only the tough economic conditions, but also the Canadian elements. Nicolas Heffernan reports
IT’S BEEN a long road from the Sunshine State to Canada for Tony Garcia. After 26 years in the life and annuity business in the US, Garcia took over as president and CEO of Foresters in May, allowing him to cross ‘working internationally’ off his bucket list. Six months later, he seems to be taking one of the north’s toughest of challenges in stride – at least, with the help of some perspective from his team. “I did grow up in Florida, but I lived in Chicago for seven winters, so it’s not too bad,” he says. “As my chief marketing officer says, ‘There’s never bad weather; there’s just bad clothing choices.’” In Garcia’s brief tenure so far, he seems to be making all the right choices. The company continued its diversification growth strategy, logging more than $10 billion in assets under management at its US branch, First Investors; adding to its UK business through acquisitions; and launching a well-received new life insurance product in Canada. Garcia’s business transition has been helped by how smoothly his wife and three young sons have adapted to their new home. “It’s been a wonderful transition,” he says. “I inherited a terrific team of senior executives and a great group of employees.” Learning curve It might seem like things could hardly have gone more smoothly, but Garcia is quick to point out that it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
“You always have a lot to learn as a new CEO, don’t get me wrong,” he says. “I didn’t know much about the Canadian and UK markets, [and] that’s a big piece of what we do, so I learn something new every day. But from a transition perspective, I’ve been very fortunate.” Part of the learning curve is trying to pick up on the nuances and differences between Canadian and American markets, after having been immersed in the latter for more than a quarter century. Still, those differences “are not as wide maybe as I would have thought,” Garcia says. While the products are generally similar, the distribution side of the industry is where he sees the greatest differences. “There is much less career captive distribution left in Canada than there is in the US. I would say that the Canadian market is dominated for pure life insurance by the MGA independent system,” he says. “The banks have a larger piece of some of the critical illness [and] mortgage protection products than you would see in the States.” The Canadian MGA market is continuing to consolidate. “Larger MGA distribution systems are buying up or consolidating smaller agencies into their broader system to be able to give a better level of training, support and access to carriers,” he says. Independent distribution has become dominant, but according to Garcia, particularly in the US over the last couple of years, captive agents are making a comeback alongside independent distribution channels. “Some compa-
nies actually are finding more ways to go back to an environment of captive distributions where they can control both the manufacturing and the distribution of the product,” he says. Emerging threats Another challenge for Garcia is the fact that he’s been thrust into a low-interest-rate storm that is concerning for the industry. “It’s an unprecedented period for low interest rates,” he says. “So [you have to be] thoughtful and make sure you stay true to your roots around managing for the long term versus taking any short -term haircuts. We’ve continually been able to do that in the midst of some significant headwinds with interest rates and the volatility of the capital markets as well.” It helps that Foresters is a fraternal benefits society. “We don’t have the quarter-over-quarter pressure around more nearer-term performance as some of our fellow company brethren experience,” Garcia says. “That allows us to think much more about the long term. We always have been very focused on managing our capital in a very conservative way.” The company also is sitting pretty with its Minimum Continuing Capital and Surplus Requirements (MCCSR) commitments north of 400.“That gives us a fair amount of flexibility as we move forward so we don’t have to chase short-term results,” he says. But he doesn’t see the low interest-rate environment going anywhere soon. “I still think that we will be challenged by lower interest
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â€œSome companies actually are finding more ways to go back to an environment of captive distributions where they can control both the manufacturing and the distribution of the productâ€?
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INDUSTRY ICON FORESTERS’ TIMELINE
rates – goodness gracious – in the course of the fourth quarter. … They are expected to drop even more,” Garcia says. “They’re going to continue to be not only a 2015 challenge, but I don’t see that changing potentially over the next three, four, five years.” Given the market environment, life insurance companies have had to branch out. “I think capital markets will continue to be volatile,” he says. “All of us from the pure life insurance side have made a move to diversify and get into more
The changing times On top of the economic factors, the elephant in the room is the alarming drop in life insurance ownership in Canada. It’s becoming a challenge to maintain the current levels. “I would see it less as a battle and be focused on how to close that gap,” he says. Part of the issue is that Canadian demographics have changed. “It’s much more of an aging population, and a lot of the industry is focused on retirement – not that it took its
“[Low interest rates] are going to continue to be not only a 2015 challenge, but I don’t see that changing ... over the next three, four, five years” asset management products that are less capital-intensive and allow us a better job in the retirement savings and payout space.” From a technology perspective, Garcia has a worried eye cast toward a couple of online giants. “All of us are going to have to be thoughtful about what happens if Facebook or Google enters the insurance market,” he says. “I don’t know if they ever will enter it as a carrier, but they have access to so many people that we have to be thinking about the direct-to-consumer market, how we support and position the independent distribution market to be able to get through that and compete.” Despite these obstacles, Garcia is confident the industry can overcome them with astute management and planning. “There are significant headwinds that we have to be thoughtful about,” he says. “At the same time, to honour our long-term commitments where we balance that conservative investment and nature of our company, we are going to have to think about things like alternative investments that allow us, over time, to be able deliver the yields to allow us to compete in the marketplace.”
eye off the ball with the basic protection plan.” On the other side of the spectrum, a lot of millennials are delaying decisions on the key drivers of life insurance, including marriage, having kids and buying a home. “They’re being more cautious about taking on more debt,” he says. “Having said that, I think we have a great opportunity as an industry to talk about the living benefits of life insurance. So I look at it as more of a challenge and a growth opportunity, not as something we can’t overcome with the right level of thinking and being thoughtful about simplifying the products and simplifying our message.” Despite the trials of being a new CEO and the issues facing the industry going forward, Garcia still sees the industry’s immense value. “None of us in the insurance field went university and upon graduation said, ‘Hey, we want to go work for an insurance company,’” he says. “So what I would tell the next generation is, ‘First, chase your passion.’ The life insurance financial services have always been about helping people. I think it’s a noble industry – we do a wonderful job in protecting and helping individuals and families.”
The Independent Order of Foresters establishes its first North American cour, and within 16 months, opens 46 new courts in 11 states.
The first Canadian beneficiary of The Independent Order of Foresters receives $604 from members.
On May 2, The Supreme Court of The Independent Order of Foresters is incorporated through a special act of Canadian Parliament.
The Independent Order of Foresters is registered in the UK.
The new North American headquarters opens in Toronto, Ont., and is called Foresters House.
The Independent Order of Foresters celebrates its 100th anniversary and issues a special dividend to all members.
The Independent Order of Foresters acquires the assets and operations of Canadian Foresters Life Insurance Society.
Foresters Life is formed in the UK.
Foresters celebrates reaching more than 1 million members throughout Canada, the US and the UK.
On May 1, Tony Garcia joins Foresters as president and CEO.
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Advocis would like to congratulate Advocis Advocis would would like tolike to congratulate congratulate
Greg Greg Greg Pollock Pollock Pollock PRESIDENT & CEO,PRESIDENT ADVOCIS PRESIDENT & & CEO,CEO, ADVOCIS ADVOCIS
For being recognized as a key For being For being recognized recognized as a as key a key influencer by Life Health Professional. influencer influencer by experience Life by Life Health Health Professional. We value Greg’s andProfessional. commitment to raising industry standards. We value We value Greg’s Greg’s experience experience and commitment and commitment to to raising industry industry standards. standards. Visitraising www.advocis.ca/raisethebar to learn about our advocacy Visit www.advocis.ca/raisethebar Visitinitiatives. www.advocis.ca/raisethebar to learn toabout learn about our our advocacy advocacy initiatives. initiatives.
The solution to TheThe solution solution to to regulatory reform regulatory regulatory reform reform is increased is increased is increased professional professional professional standards for standards standards for for Financial Advisors. Financial Financial Advisors. Advisors.
The annual Advocis Regulatory The annual The annual Advocis Advocis Affairs Symposium isRegulatory yourRegulatory Affairs Affairs Symposium Symposium your is your opportunity to stay iscurrent opportunity opportunity stay to current stay current on the issuesto facing the on the onissues the issues facing facing the the financial advice industry. financial financial advice advice industry. industry. Visit www.advocis.ca/Symposium2015 Visit Visit www.advocis.ca/Symposium2015 for a www.advocis.ca/Symposium2015 preview of this year’s event. for a preview for a preview of thisof year’s this year’s event.event.
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2015-03-12 10:06:15 AM
COVER STORY: THE LHP HOT LIST
HOT LIST Thirty movers and shakers setting life and health insurance on fire this year
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WELCOME TO LHP’s inaugural Hot List. We asked you, the life insurance community, to pass on your suggestions for who we should include on this list of the industry’s most successful, most engaging and most innovative people. From CEOs and presidents of major carriers to superstar advisors, the names came flooding in. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of Canada’s influential players, we’ve narrowed it down to 30 people we think merit a mention for their stellar achievements over the past year. Our picks run the gamut, from advisors boasting tremendous growth to CEOs whose innovations are helping revitalize the industry. In the following pages, you’ll meet a former tennis star, a Canadian senator and an advisor who has scaled Mount Everest. But everyone on our Hot List has one thing in common – they’re all changing the face of the Canadian life and health insurance industry.
ROGER SINCLAIR Financial security advisor Great-West Life While Roger Sinclair has been recognized as a national industry leader as one of the founders of SBW Wealth Management & Employee Benefits, it’s his community work that really sets him apart. Sinclair currently serves on the board of Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society and is chair of their capital campaign, and is a former member of the national board of directors for the Canadian Cancer Society and past chair of the National Planned Giving Committee. Sinclair also received the prestigious Jack Hopwood Memorial Award, which is presented bi-annually to a Great-West Life financial advisor playing an outstanding volunteer role in his community.
MARILEE MARK Vice president of market development, group benefits Sun Life In her first full year on the job, Marilee Mark was a visible presence in bringing Sun Life’s group benefits market strategies into the public eye. Mark raised awareness by developing communications and has extended the company’s product and service offerings. Mark has more than 25 years of industry experience, including disability management, consulting, and product and business development, and sits on a number of industry advisory boards, including the Sanofi Annual Health Care Survey Board, the Benefits Canada Advisory Board and the Partners for Mental Health Workplace Action Team.
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TONY GARCIA CEO Foresters Florida transplant Tony Garcia took over Foresters in July as company CEO. Now based in Toronto, he leads the company as it continues to implement its diversification growth strategy. Its US branch, First Investors, surpassed $10 billion in assets under management for the first time. The business in the UK continued to grow through acquisitions, while in Canada, the company launched a new product that won it traction with the MGA community.
CHRIS DEWDNEY Financial advisor DWL Financial This leading player increased his revenue in 2014 by 57% compared to the previous yearâ€™s already impressive numbers. It helped that he wrote and issued the largest individual life policy and brought over the largest individual investment account (segregated funds) at DWL. He also continued his charity work as part of the board of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the research ethics board of St. Michaelâ€™s Hospital.
JOE DICKSTEIN Vice chairman, retired PPI Despite retiring in January 2013, Joe Dickstein continues to exert his influence on industry professionalism through his role as the chair of the Stewards of the Advocis Century Initiative. His power also extends to his mentorship of many Canadian members of the Top of the Table, CALU and PPI Advisory. The Joe Dickstein Scholarships, founded in 2013, are a testament to his ongoing influence.
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STEPHANIE ALBERT Advisor/owner Stephanie Albert Insurance/Foresters
FRANCOIS LANGLOIS Senior investment advisor Manulife Over 20 years with Manulife, Francois Langlois has climbed to become one of the giant’s most-trusted advisors. And in his personal life, the father of four became the third Quebecer to climb Mount Everest as part of his successful quest to climb the highest peak on each continent, raising more than $6 million for sick children and kids with cancer during the 10-year journey. Langlois finished 2014 ranked 35th out of about 1,200 brokers at Manulife – in the top 3% of the firm – and had his best year in the industry in terms of client satisfaction and growth. He grew his business by more than 25% and, without any staff, focuses on just 70 households. He’ll really put his relationships to the test in April when he leaves for Kilimanjaro for the fourth time with a group of a dozen climbers – some of whom are his clients.
JENNIFER BLACK President Dedicated Financial Solutions [DFS]
Professionally and socially, Stephanie Albert had a big impact in 2014. With her family, she helped start Kids to Kids, a program where volunteers – including children – work with lower-income families and children with special needs. So far, the program has been a huge success; 1,100 children and 150 volunteers have gotten involved. On the back of this initiative, she won Foresters’ Community Service Award. It’s perhaps the only accolade that could eclipse Albert being named to the Top Five Broker in Canada list and qualifying as an ambassador for the company.
It’s been a smooth transition for Jennifer Black to go from being a nationally ranked tennis star to being co-owner of DFS, a rapidly growing wealth management and financial planning company based in Mississauga, Ont. For the last two years, Black has been given the Consumer’s Top Choice Award as Mississauga’s Top Financial Planner, has been awarded Elite status as one of Canada’s top eight financial advisor teams based on an independent survey of their customers by Elite Advisors Canada, and won the Mississauga Board of Trade Business Award of Excellence for 2014 as Small Business of the Year. Black also created the nonprofit advisor network and resource website Widowed.ca.
KEN MACCOY CHS RitePartner Financial Services It was anything but a typical year for Ken MacCoy, CHS of RitePartner Financial Services in Chilliwack, BC. The industry veteran and contributor to Wealth Professional magazine saw his insurance business shoot up about 37.3% in 2014, thanks to referrals and policy reviews with existing clients. MacCoy has also excelled at hanging onto clients in an increasingly competitive market where defections are more and more the norm – he boasts a conversion rate of around 96%.
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COVER STORY JIM BURTON Chairman and CEO PPI Jim Burton founded Prairie Pacific Insurance in 1978, now PPI, and continues to grow the business as one of Canada’s leading national insurance marketing organizations. Jim has long been a driving force in raising industry standards, being instrumental in founding CALU (Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting) and today active as a board member of IFEA (Institute for Family Enterprise Advisors) furthering advisor education to serve families in business.
DR. MARIE-HELENE PELLETIER
Director of workplace mental health Sun Life
Financial planner Investors Group Financial Services
As a registered psychologist, Marie-Helene Pelletier brings a unique perspective to workplace health and benefits discussion at a crucial time in its development. Throughout her 15 years in business management and clinical psychology, Pelletier has spearheaded a national dialogue on the crucial issue of workplace mental health. Today, as director of workplace mental health at Sun Life Financial, Pelletier oversees the organization’s mental health strategy for its Canadian group clients, providing leadership and advice in helping clients improve mental health outcomes in the workplace.
For the second straight year, Nick Bakish was a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table, the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business. Bakish has consistently been one of Investors Group’s top consultants, winning accolade upon accolade. The Montreal-based advisor, along with his brother Joseph, is among the most-established financial advisors in the province, actively encouraging the kind of professional development and multiple certifications he himself has prioritized.
JENNIFER ELIA Assistant vice president of health and wellness, group benefits Sun Life As the head of a team of health and wellness experts concentrating on meeting the healthy workplace objectives of Canadian employers, Jennifer Elia is focused on integrating group benefits and wellness programs. With more than 15 years of experience, Elia has been involved in disability management, strategic planning and product development. She joined Sun Life in 2009, where she helped establish the health and wellness business before moving to human resources to lead the design and delivery of market-leading benefits and wellness programs.
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MARK SYLVIA CEO Empire Life Mark Sylvia was named president and chief executive officer of Empire Life in June, succeeding Les Herr in one of the industry’s key centres of influence. Sylvia was hired based on his track record of leading and growing mid-sized and specialty insurance companies in Canada by focusing on service, simplicity and strategic partnerships. He is expected to build on the current strength of the company while leading Empire Life to its next phase of growth and success.
RICK LUNNY CEO Manulife Bank When Rick Lunny took over as head of the Bank of Canada’s largest life insurance carrier, he jumped straight into the job, warning Canadians about the retirement mistakes they are making. Lunny is taking the lead in strategic planning and overall management of the bank, bringing more than two decades of senior leadership in personal and commercial lines to bear.
DAVID FOREST President David Forest Financial Services Ltd.
JOE PAL Founder and president Pal Insurance Ltd. Joe Pal, who has been a leader in insurance sales productivity for years, is the founder of Pal Insurance Limited. Pal is a founding member of the CALU, a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table, a life and qualifying member of Top of the Table [TOT] and a past member of the TOT advisory board. In 2013, Pal was named Business Person of the Year by the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce.
David Forest’s industry-leading productivity, level of industry engagement and community involvement makes him a highly sought-after expert in risk mitigation for successful and wealthy Canadians who are looking to maximize and secure their net worth. Forest was awarded the Tory Gold Medal for achieving top marks in Canada as a graduating Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He is a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table and 24-time Top of the Table qualifier. His sphere of influence continues to grow, building on his position as a founding member of CALU and leading member of the Canadian Tax Foundation, the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Montreal and many other industry groups.
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CHARLES GUAY President and CEO, Manulife Quebec Executive vice president, institutional markets, Manulife Canada Charles Guay was named president and CEO of Manulife Quebec and EVP of institutional markets for Manulife Canada in December. In his newly created role as head of Manulife Quebec, Guay is responsible for developing and implementing a strategy to significantly increase Manulife’s presence, visibility and impact in the province. In his other role, he’s leading the Canadian division’s group benefits, group savings and affinity markets business nationally.
HENRI BOUDREAU Managing director, capital division OSFI As managing director of OSFI’s capital divison, Henri Boudreau is spearheading the Life Insurance Capital Standardized Approach. The revised approach “should better align measures of risks with the economic reality faced by life insurers, thereby promoting appropriate risk management and business decisions,” he says. The approach is still in its sixth Quantitative Impact Study and is still a few years away from implementation.
JEREMY RUDIN Superintendent of financial institutions OSFI Jeremy Rudin became the new head of Canada’s banking and insurance regulator in June. The former economics professor, who worked at the department of finance during the financial crisis, oversees the body that regulates and supervises federally regulated life insurance companies (including branches, foreign subsidiaries, fraternal and mutual companies).
GREG POLLOCK President and CEO Advocis Greg Pollock has been a constant champion of higher standards for financial advisors in Canada by launching Advocis’ Raise the Bar initiative. The president and CEO also is pushing for revamped regulatory reforms that would see a unified regulatory system for advisors. Pollock has received the Diamond Jubilee Medal and was a member of the federal government’s Task Force on Financial Literacy.
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BONNIE LYSYK Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk had FSCO in her crosshairs last fall. The auditor general was scathing in her report, finding some serious regulatory gaps in FSCO’s oversight. Lysyk pointed out that FSCO’s online licensing system allows life insurance agents to hold active licences without having entered proper information about whether they have insurance for errors and omissions. She also said FSCO failed to investigate applications, renewing licences of agents who were disciplined by other financial service regulators, those who declared bankruptcy and those with criminal records. Lysyk also said FSCO does not verify the information in its online licensing system database of life insurance agents.
President and CEO, North America (life) Munich Re
Mary Forrest affirmed how important she is to the industry when she was named to WXN Network’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women list. Forest oversees the two largest life reinsurance business units within the Munich Re Group. She is responsible for reinsurance operations in Canada, the Caribbean and the US. She also takes an active role in the firm’s global initiatives through her board leadership.
James Cowan has been in the headlines in 2014 for his genetic discrimination crusade. The Liberal senator from Nova Scotia is trying to push Bill S-201: An Act to Prohibit and Prevent Genetic Discrimination into law. The bill has been before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights since the early summer, after it passed second reading in the Senate. It still needs to go through the House of Commons.
JOHN H. HAMILTON DONALD GULOIEN CEO Manulife Manulife Financial pulled off the deal of the year with its $4 billion purchase of the Canadian assets of Standard Life. Donald Guloien, the company’s CEO, spearheaded the move, which marked Manulife’s return to growth across the life insurance and wealth management sectors. Guloien has worked over the past few years to reduce the company’s exposure to financial markets and increase its presence in Asia. All in all, not a bad year for Guloien, who received a 22% raise, bringing his salary to $12.8 million.
President and CEO Financial Horizons Group Financial Horizons was busy in 2014, snapping up a couple of life insurance MGAs. John Hamilton, the company’s president and CEO, completed deals for Montreal-based Marcolin & Associates as well as S&V Planning Corporation, an MGA based in Victoria. This continues Financial Horizons’ growth – the group currently has 25 offices, more than 180 employees and is licensed in every province to provide world-class service to over 7,500 advisors across Canada.
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BRIAN MILLS Director FSCO The FSCO director was under the gun following the Ontario auditor general’s report finding that FSCO had severe lapses with its online licensing system, which allowed life insurance agents to hold active licenses without having entered proper information about whether they have insurance for errors and omissions. FSCO also was called out for renewing the licenses of agents who were disciplined by other financial service regulators, those who declared bankruptcy and those with criminal records.
President and CEO CLHIA The chief executive of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association is the voice for life insurance companies in Canada, speaking for the industry on key issues. That voice is at its strongest when there are proposed policies that put the industry at an unfair disadvantage. For example, Swedlove is currently taking the Ontario government to task over elements of its proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. He is also a proponent of public policy initiatives that would benefit all Canadians, whether it be improving healthcare or Canada’s infrastructure.
Vice president CLHIA Stephen Frank is the brains behind policy development and health and disability insurance for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Frank has been busy this year with key issues, including how the government and insurers can work together to provide healthcare to Canadians, with a strong focus on the impact catastrophic drugs are having on health and employee benefit plans. With more and more of these claims coming in the future, and provinces continuing to be financially constrained, this will continue to be an area of concern for Frank.
MITZIE HUNTER Ontario Associate Minister of Finance As the minister responsible for bringing forward the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, Mitzie Hunter has borne the brunt of the industry’s backlash to the proposal. Hunter worked closely with the government-appointed advisory panel to set up the plan, but she’s been under pressure now that many in the industry have derided the plan, especially after DC plans weren’t included in the proposal.
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HUGH MACDONALD Financial advisor and president, Canadian Succession Protection Company
The tenor sax, spaghetti and his Nova Scotia hometown – these are a few of Hugh MacDonald’s favourite things Favourite pastime My passion is playing music live with friends and family and writing the odd tune.
Favourite vacation spot Pictou County, Nova Scotia, where I grew up along the ocean First day in insurance My first day in insurance was memorable because I was an unemployed CFO, and for the first time in my life, it struck me that I had no guaranteed source of revenue or clients, and not much of a network. Favourite music Piano, tenor saxophone and zydeco accordion
Favourite food Spaghetti and meatballs
Weirdest ever coverage When life insurance coverage gets weird, it’s a red flag, and that’s when you respectfully decline the engagement, which I’ve done a few times.
Best thing about working in insurance You create your own wealth, and what you do makes a big difference for many Canadian families.
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WE’RE DEDICATED TO THE GROWTH AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE EXEMPT MARKET
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A list of the main players in the Canadian life and health insurance industry.