The advisory business in general suffers from a lopsided demographic makeup, and the insurance space especially so. Nizamuddin bucks that trend, but explains that someone interested in selling insurance should take certain steps in order to enter the industry.
“It was a challenge for me,” she says. “I have a diploma in business marketing, which is a little bit unrelated to insurance, so I got my life licence, the LLQP (Life License Qualification Program). In order to sell insurance in Canada, you have to have the LLQP.”
That certification led her to Svab Insurance in 2014, where her primary focus is group benefits. Small and mid-sized businesses, including the growing ranks of Canada’s self-employed, are the bread-and-butter of Svab, with Nizamuddin concentrating primarily on those with 20 employees and less.
“At Svab, 80-90% of our block is group benefits,” she says. “The rest is for individuals – life insurance, critical illness, disability insurance.”
While having the majority of advisors and brokers approaching retirement age is certainly an issue for the insurance industry, being able to reach out to the younger generation when it comes to selling products is an even bigger concern. It’s a work in progress for many firms, with a push for digital offerings and efforts to engage consumers with fitness programs and other outreach projects becoming more commonplace. Having younger advisors selling the products is another obvious solution to reach the millennial market, as Nizamuddin outlines.
“I have had better luck with younger rather than older people in selling insurance,” she says. “On the individual side, most of my clients would be between 30 and 45. With the younger demographic, term insurance is the most popular product. Critical illness is also popular; it’s not that expensive and you can get a pretty good rate with no medical underwriting.”
Enhancing their digital offerings is another step insurance providers finally appear to be embracing, although it has been a slow process. In Nizamuddin’s opinion, the industry clearly has some work to do to catch-up.
“I definitely think insurance companies need to become more technologically advanced,” she says. “A lot of them don’t have apps yet. I also know that once we submit an application, getting that onto the system is time consuming, especially when a client is looking for feedback. The older insurance companies need to jump on the technology bandwagon.”
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As an advisor with Svab Insurance, Sophia Nizamuddin is now approaching her third year in the brokerage business. At age 28, she is a welcome addition to an industry where the majority of brokers are much closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.