A leader, a pioneer, a mentor, a visionary, an author, an advisor, a professor... These words all share the common thread of describing Sam Albanese, a man whose influence has significantly shaped the insurance and financial services industry. More than anything, he has played a pivotal role in advancing many individuals' careers. 

With a remarkable 45-year career, Sam Albanese passed away on April 3th after a lengthy illness. 

Entering the industry through an insurance company, he quickly made the leap to independent brokerage. He established his own Managing General Agency (MGA), AFG Canada. A visionary as early as 2001, he invested in technology to ensure his firm provided advisors with up-to-the-minute status on all life and fund business online. 

As a managing general agent, he emerged as a leadership figure in the MGA channel. He contributed to the development of the Canadian Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (CAILBA). 

In 2005, he sold his business and then dedicated himself to a project he considered vital for the industry's sustainability: attracting recruits to the life insurance advisor network. 

Albanese recognized that to achieve this, the industry needed to invest in training. He approached Seneca College to create a life insurance and financial services curriculum. Given the increasing complexity of insurance products, he felt it was crucial to provide recruits with more comprehensive training than what was required for licensing alone. 

Following the launch of the Financial Services Practitioner’s program, he reached out to insurers and agencies to employ graduates. This effort sometimes seemed challenging to him. For instance, in a 2011 article on Insurance Portal, he expressed frustration over the industry's – both insurers and agencies – continual search for solutions regarding the recruitment of new advisors. "Yes, it is frustrating," Albanese admitted, believing that insurance carriers and MGAs were still wrestling with what to do about this urgent problem. 

As the owner of Insurance Journal Publishing Group, I've always recognized the value of Sam Albanese's approach. We partnered with Seneca College to promote this program. College students have sometimes attended the Canada Sales Congress (CSC) to get acquainted with industry challenges. 

The MGA PPI also acknowledged the importance of recruitment issues by creating the Joe Dickstein Scholarship. It is awarded annually at our CSC conference in Toronto and Seneca College’s insurance and financial services students have frequently been the recipients. 

Following the announcement of Albanese's passing, numerous tributes appeared on social media. They all revolved around a common sentiment: Sam will be greatly missed by many in the industry. 

Serge Therrien, President and Publisher of Insurance Journal Publishing Group