The R.U.T.A. Report: The Sky is Not Falling

by 08 Dec 2014
To hear some tell it, the new CLHIA Advisor Compliance Regime spells the end of Life Insurance Agents. This is fear mongering of the highest order and a disservice to agents everywhere. That MGAs and Carriers will be required to enforce good business practices in January is not really news.

Let me take you back to 1978… When I was a rookie, new agents were seriously screened by Head Office selection committees and extensive documentation was necessary. Even medicals were required. Today’s new “Advisor Screening Questionnaires” are not very different.

When I was a rookie, privacy and security of client information was so important that everyone had locked file cabinets and office doors. No agents were allowed anywhere near policy applications.  There were doors and gates to policy service areas. Back then, Capital Needs Analysis was the way of the day and no one considered selling a product that didn’t suit the client or the budget, good business. Why work just to have the policy lapse and your commission clawed back? Needs-based selling is pretty much the same thing and the very foundation of professionalism.

Yes, Disclosure Statements are relatively new (still they are over 10 years old) but when advisors were just agents of one company, everyone knew they were paid by commission and what the deal was. Much of this was obvious then. Now, with vague titles like Financial Advisor, we’ve confused people about how we are paid. I also remember questions being asked about “potential proceeds of crime” back in 1979 so, while terrorists may be a new source today, the idea of Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Funding isn’t new.

I take exception to those who would try to frighten life agents into submission and de-commission. I’ve taken calls from advisors who having attended recent seminars, thought it was the end of the world. Some want to abandon the career. This is outrageous. How will that help put more insurance in the hands of people who need it… today, when a 2013 LIMRA study says “never in recorded history have so few Canadians owned an individual life insurance policy”.

Selling life insurance is good social and economic policy. Without it, society will deteriorate. We need to encourage, not discourage it and the selling of it. I think we may have outsmarted ourselves over the years… Some want to be “financial advisors” but decry the rules that regulators expect from them. It’s a mistake. You can use the New Compliance Regime to build your business.  It does not have to restrict your performance. Courage my friends… The sky is not falling.

The RUTA Report – Real Usable Tactical Advice – is provided exclusively to the Canadian Life e-newsletter each week by veteran financial industry consultant, speaker, writer and media commentator Jim Ruta. Starting at age 22, he led one of Canada’s largest insurance agencies by age 40. Jim has been featured around the world including the MDRT Main Platform and has several best-selling books to his credit. He is Managing Partner of Boston-based InforcePRO Software, a unique automatic presentation from existing policies system.