A few months after announcing a landmark agreement with Sun Life, Conquest Planning has taken another step to disrupt the Canadian life insurance space.
As part of a newly announced partnership with Worldsource Wealth Management, a subsidiary of Guardian Capital, Conquest will be implementing an enterprise-wide financial planning solution that will be made available to all advisors working with the firm. That includes IDC Worldsource Insurance Network (WIN), Worldsource’s MGA arm, which is the first MGA to formally partner with Conquest.
“The value proposition of MGAs has historically been to provide access to a variety of insurance products for independent advisors through pooled arrangements,” said Stacie Joosten, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Conquest Planning. “MGAs have traditionally remained agnostic in terms of requiring use of one technology over another. But their value proposition is changing in this world that we live in.”
That value proposition, Joosten explained, is expanding to include the creation of connected digital planning ecosystems. As the industry moves from being product-centric and siloed towards a more holistic planning orientation, advisors are looking for interconnected digital fintech solutions. For many independents, firm sponsorship is the most practical means to achieve that.
While the partnership doesn’t take away the ability of advisors across the WIN enterprise to go through different financial planning software options, they will have to opportunity to access Conquest’s tools, which will be integrated into the firm’s digital ecosystem.
“From an experience standpoint, that back-office connectivity and integration will make an advisor exponentially more efficient as they deliver financial advice around life insurance,” Joosten said. “It’s a fundamental disruption in the insurance delivery model to see an MGA make this kind of investment to integrate with a preferred planning vendor.”
In entering this relationship with Conquest, Joosten said Worldsource hopes to add value both for end clients and advisors as it envisions a future where both sets of stakeholders can enjoy seamless engagement across all transactions. At the same time, she said embedding Conquest throughout their ecosystem will benefit other financial institutions that Worldsource deals with because of the connection to their back-office data.
For the broader organization of Guardian Capital, the scalable nature of the Conquest system, which is underpinned by AI, is another strong point. That creates an additional integration opportunity as it can support every level of wealth advisory service, from Guardian’s robo-advice platform all the way up to its ultra-high-net worth division.
“Advisors can also benefit from our corporate planning and estate planning functionality,” Joosten said. “It can be challenging for insurance advisors to model out corporate insurance purchases, and there's lots of strategies around estate planning and protection. Our software will equip these insurance advisors with the ability to model out the insurance purchase, whether it's personal or corporate, and show its impact on their overall goals.”
The flexibility of the AI engine supports simulation of strategies as simple as buying a term policy to cover income-replacement needs, or as sophisticated as an immediate financing arrangement where policyholders take out a line of credit to pay premiums on their policy. The tool also enables a more modern MGA system where life insurance purchases and actual fulfilment of the products can be triggered automatically as needed.
Another promising improvement in advisor experience, Joosten said, is Life Design Analysis’ application that empowers advisors with MGAs to compare and select policies that are the best fit for each client. With regulators increasingly looking to make sure that licensed firms do everything in the best interest of their clients, the move for digitization is gaining more traction.
“Firms just haven't had to deal with this kind of regulatory pressure in the past. With the traditional processes, it's a lot of heavy lifting, and it's expensive,” she said. “So firms are shopping all the vendors, all the fintechs, and looking for the right people to partner with.”