Stable, competitive and with its roots in the community, SSQ Insurance is setting its stall out to become more widely recognised among the country’s advisors.
A national carrier, the firm was “born and raised” in Quebec and has now spread its wings across Canada, with its focus on group and individual life and health products.
Louis Regimbal, vice president, strategy and innovation, told LHP that the origins of the company are in serving the middle class and that this ethos stands it apart from many of its competitors in the industry. In order to grow its presence, Regimbal said the firm has had to not only appeal to the MGAs but also go a step beyond and appeal to their advisors.
“One of the challenges we’ve had is that because we are not a household brand, if some advisor comes to you and says, I want to sell this SSQ insurance product, they don’t naturally know who it is, so they rely on the advisor to articulate who we are and what we stand for.”
Celebrating its 75th year, SSQ is, however, no young upstart in the industry. With more than 3 million customers, 2,000 employees and $12 billion in AUM, it has forged an impressive presence in the space. It wants advisors to reflect the firm as a community oriented business that is also competitive with a tightly managed product shelf.
Regimbal said: “Our products are every bit as competitive as what anybody else might have. And the other element where we are starting to really make our mark is how we are incorporating a digital experience for the benefit of the advisor.
“There are two dimensions to that kind of experience. There is the digital experience for the advisor, which honestly is not necessarily where we are putting most of our efforts. It’s much more about how do we integrate the digital experience for the advisor that may involve the end consumer? That’s where a lot of our thinking has been going of late.”
Currently in the design phase, SSQ wants to assist advisors with lead generation and has also been working on online solutions that allow straight sales of insurance products. Regimbal said this is all being done while protecting the reputation of SSQ as a stable business with a reliable, bullet-proof product range.
He said: “One thing is clear, the advisor will continue to play a critical role in the sale process for a long time. While there are some willing to pay for a product directly online and not speak to anyone, that’s still a minority and a modest one.”
He added: “In terms of our products, we are not experimenting. Sometimes, people take a flyer on certain protection and packages and over time discover there are some structural issues and want to pull it or move it around. We have a very stable approach.”