MGAs aim to attract and train new recruits

By Donna Glasgow | May 15 2013 01:38PM

While lack of new advisor recruitment is an ongoing problem for the insurance industry, some managing general agents are making efforts to rejuvenate their advisor networks.

Hub Financial is in the process of completely evolving its recruitment program. Having recently acquired Complete Brokerage Services, Hub is implementing its Value Planner Development Program, which will bring brand new people into the industry and Hub will provide sales training, support and mentorship to ensure they can get a successful start to their careers, explains Terri DiFlorio, Hub’s president.

The program will be rolled out across the Canada in the next weeks and months, Ms. DiFlorio adds. The advisor has to be licensed before they enter the program. It consists of an intense five-day classroom program with a small group of new recruits, followed by several follow sessions of one-on-one training which will be done in person or via videoconferencing, depending on location, to provide ongoing support. It is also hoped that the original small group of advisors will also form a study group to help their transition into the industry, she adds.

Tony Bosch, who joined Hub with the acquisition of CBS as executive vice president of broker development, will be in charge of this program and will be delivering the training in the early days of this program.

Ms. DiFlorio thinks that the solution to the recruitment problem in the industry is that every MGA must do their part in recruiting new people into the industry and do their part in assisting older advisors with succession planning for their businesses, such as dealing with paperwork related to their contracts with various carriers. “It is really, really tough to unravel this stuff once the advisor has passed away.”

Succession planning will be a component of Hub’s new approach to its advisor training support, she says, adding that Hub has some advisors who are approaching age seventy and should be giving serious thought to what they’re going to do with their practice.

“I am not sure that they really all understand that this isn’t something that you decide on Tuesday and you’ve got it all sorted out by Friday. This is a long process and if it is going to work extremely well for the practice and for the clients, it has got to be likely a two or three year process where the advisor works together with whoever they’ve identified for their succession plan and we want to play a role in that with our advisors.”

Gary Mandel, president of Independent Financial Concepts Group, says his firm has offered a training program for new recruits for many years, providing such benefits as accompanied sales appointments that don’t require the new advisor to give up half their commission. “We actually give them all the commission.”
He estimates that the program brings in about 20 new advisors per year.

IFCG finds these new recruits in various ways, such as referrals from other advisors, referrals from clients and even from other MGAs.

The program features three different models which vary according to the advisor’s needs as they evolve in the industry, from more support in the early years to more minimal support for the most experienced advisors. “That way they don’t have to leave us as they outgrow the first model…The idea is they can stay with us throughout all the stages of their career, as opposed to the old career system which was kind of a one-size-fits-all.”

As the advisor requires less support, they receive more compensation, he adds.

“Someone who is brand new in the business, they require so much hand-holding, so the bonus levels will be lower in the beginning. But as their business grows…they don’t have to go looking for another MGA because we pay them more.”

The result of IFCG’s ongoing training efforts, is that the average age of its advisors is about 35 to 40 years-old, which is significantly younger than the industry average.