Striving towards a new breed of broker

by Leo Almazora03 Mar 2021

Sometimes, when talking about the impact and influence a particular firm has on their industry, it’s better to ask not how old it is, but how young. And in the case of Longevity Achieved, a nationally licensed managing general agency operating out of Mississauga, Ontario, that most certainly applies.

“I think it’s probably best to say that we’re five years young,” Alaeddine Jabri, the agency’s lead client consultant, told Life and Health Professional.

As Jabri explained, Longevity Achieved was founded by Ashley Lalonde, their CEO who has all of 12 years’ experience in the industry. Five years ago, she made history by becoming the youngest female CEO to lead an MGA in Ontario. The goal, to which the team has demonstrated unwavering commitment, is to provide high-touch, boutique-quality service as they help people – their clients as well as the advisors they work with – pursue the lives they want to achieve.

“We’re very mindful of the fact that we’re providing service on two fronts,” Jabri said. “Focusing on clients, we serve their needs holistically by taking care of wealth concerns from the investments side, and taking care of risk from the insurance side.”

To achieve that, the team at Longevity Achieved equips their advisors with training & development, tools, strategies, and ways to interact with clients in the context of white-glove service. The other half of the puzzle comes from their work with insurance companies in policy administration, contracting, and compliance matters, among other tasks.

Some may consider the agency a beacon of youth in a greying industry: while the typical age of advisors in the MGA space is comfortably above 65, the ones Longevity Achieved works with are 38 on average. Its management team also reflects the diversity of Canada, with an office that includes 50% visible minorities and a collective ability to speak 12 different languages.

“We’ve always taken pride in being a firm that represents diversity and youth,” Jabri said. “We were focused on the family market and middle market in our first years, which is where we were naturally comfortable. But as we grew both in advisor base and AUM, we branched out in terms of our specialties and the advice we facilitate.”

Today, the firm’s network includes a number of advisors who service professional corporations, such as realtors and medical doctors, as well as clients in the very high-net-worth or ultra-high-net-worth space. As of last year, the largest policy it administered represented a total of $500,000 in annual premiums.

Longevity Achieved also prides itself with a focus on innovation. Aside from creating a new breed of broker, the firm’s website proclaims that the agency offers a new business model with an emphasis on high-touch coaching, industry designations, and performance metrics, as well as numerous other deliverables to facilitate that.

“Even before the pandemic, we’d already established ourselves as a 100% digital business,” Jabri said, noting how it has proven immensely powerful as a lead generation tool. “We are not a lead generation company by any means, but we provide avenues to do business, get training, and succeed by supplying leads to every advisor on our platform.”

The past year has ushered in a seismic shift in the life and health insurance space, as Canadians faced with uncertainty and their own mortality started seeing coverage for death, disability, and critical illness as a more worthy investment. As the agency’s fully digital nature allowed it to remain highly active, it saw a steep increase in business from clients and people in its general vicinity to interact and be part of a conversation around protection and security.

The agency has also seen transformative change on the group benefits side, particularly with respect to mental health. As social isolation and the stress of a once-in-a-century pandemic climate take their toll, plan sponsors are becoming more keenly aware of the benefits of taking a prevention-first approach through mental wellness strategies, as opposed to dealing with problems with prescriptions after the fact.

“We definitely saw exponential growth last year,” Jabri said. “To solidify that, we’ve declared 2021 as our year of refinement. We’re looking at our processes with a critical eye, and we want to take out any redundancies, impurities, and any element that we can improve on.”

Furthering the growth and footprint of the Group Benefits division at Longevity Achieved, the agency has acquired the services of industry veteran Jason Julian. As their consultant, “Jason will provide the necessary structure, training and leadership needed for this important service offering,” Jabri said. With his appointment, the firm hopes to be better able to formulate wellness strategies, plans, and proposals that it brings to clients into optimized packages.

The firm also has developed a whole new look for its advisor onboarding regime, creating an upgraded recruitment and training process.

“I'm really enthusiastic for our industry. I'm excited for it to continue to grow,” Jabri said. “We want to be a leader in its growth, and we'll keep innovating to make sure that happens.”