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Insurance is still a paper business

By Matt Bell | December 19 2016 07:00AM

Terri Botosan, president of one of Canada’s largest managing general agencies, Hub Financial, is also a past president of the Canadian Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (CAILBA) and presently the association’s chair of technology. Botosan says that while the industry is starting to improve on its take up of technology, it is still very much a paper business and slow to turn to newer methods.

She adds that every carrier has some kind of technology available, but not necessarily a uniform approach. “There is not really an efficient way for all of us to share data; we’re still not even close to being there with technology in the insurance industry. I think it will be more challenging in the next few years.”

Botosan says the majority of applications submitted to insurance companies are still completed on paper as opposed to digital. She says it takes nearly three times as long for a paper application to be approved than those submitted digitally.

There has been some progress. “I think insurance companies are helping, they’re providing training, resources. They’re providing whatever is necessary to get people on the electronic side.”

HUB’s approach has been to assist in piloting new technologies to keep on the leading edge of technology in the life insurance industry. “This means we can provide feedback, so that changes that come are effective and positive for our advisors.”

By embracing technology, advisors and clients will both be happy with the rapid processing, she adds. 

Succession planning

Another industry challenge that is top of mind for Botosan is advisor succession planning. Last year HUB launched a succession plan program and Botosan says she is proud of the program’s success. Interest in the program is higher than HUB’s expectations.

“It’s been widely successful, more agreements in place than I thought we would ever have and it’s only been a short time. I think that tells me that advisors are very aware of the issue.”

Safety net

As part of the initiative, HUB has held conversations with advisors to help develop their own business succession plans. Botosan says they also have agreements though which they may purchase an advisors’ block of business, but this is purely for a safety net if there are not many options left.

“We see what happens when an advisors passes away without a succession plan. It really becomes quite challenging.”

As part of the succession program, advisors must all of their business with HUB.  In return, HUB offers services to look after their block, but also actively working with advisors to develop a proper succession plan.

“Everyone in the industry has been saying this for a long time, succession planning isn’t an event it is a journey.”

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