NAILBA Brokerage in Motion Insurbrief - Episode 12

Audio transcription – June 8, 2022

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This episode of Brokerage in Motion was brought to you by Simplicity Group.

Katie Fehlinger:
Hello, and welcome to Brokerage in Motion: your one-stop guide for everything happening in independent distribution. I'm Katie Fehlinger.

Katie Fehlinger:
In industry headlines: it's official. With overwhelming support, NAILBA and Finseca have voted to merge and create NAILBA, a Finseca Community.

Katie Fehlinger:
The move will help to not only build a stronger collective voice for the profession, but to more effectively serve it as well. We will have much more on the announcement with CEO Dan LaBert a little bit later in the show.

Katie Fehlinger:
And a proud moment for our association. NAILBA recently won the 2022 ASAE Gold Circle Award for integrated media solutions, for its ID Media Network. The ID Network is a multi-platform hub of news, resources, and information, and the first of its kind: with a wide variety of content, including this show, Brokerage in Motion, and Perspectives Magazine, just to name a few. A well-deserved congratulations to ID Network VP Pam Sheehan for spearheading this effort.

Katie Fehlinger:
In acquisition news: Integrity Marketing Group has announced plans to acquire Ash Brokerage. Ash Brokerage is one of the oldest and largest insurance brokerages in the country. Officials say the partnership will bring additional strength and leadership to Integrity's fast-growing partner network. As part of the move, Ash CEO Tim Ash will become a managing partner in Integrity.

Katie Fehlinger:
Giving back: One America announced a one million dollar commitment to activate a financial literacy program in central Indiana. In collaboration with the American College of Financial Services, the program will be uniquely tailored to youth and adults, with a focus on narrowing the racial wealth gap. The initiative will offer students practical financial understanding to build personal relationships with finance, and drive economic empowerment.

Katie Fehlinger:
And finally, challenges amidst the political landscape. According to a Life Annuity Specialist article, life insurers are among the major corporations finding it harder than ever to remain neutral on hot-button issues, on which states are taking aggressive positions.

Katie Fehlinger:
Carriers must contend with conflicting state bills that force them to take a stand, or risk losing business for issues such as choosing to boycott or not boycott gun manufacturers and fossil fuel companies. Officials say this raises big concerns, and that they will urge policymakers to ensure businesses can stay out of the political fray.

Katie Fehlinger:
If you have any carrier or industry announcements or news to share, we would love to hear about it. Feel free to email us at [email protected]

Dan LaBert:
Hey, good day everyone. Joining me today is Jane Riley, chief compliance officer from The Leaders Group. Um, Jane's very recognizable. She's been with The Leaders Group since 1998. If you're not fam- or you're not familiar with The Leaders Group, uh, they themselves were founded in 1994, so Jane's pretty much been there the entire time. Um, you know, there's two decades of knowledge, expertise, leadership, um, especially in this changing marketplace that we- that we reside in.

Dan LaBert:
Um, The Leaders Group is the premier broker dealer for BGAs nationwide, and is the world's number one dealer for variable universal life; I'm saying that from the NAILBA CEO role. Hi, Jane.

Jane Riley:
Hi, Dan. Thank you so much-

Dan LaBert:
(laughs)

Jane Riley:
... for having me today.

Dan LaBert:
Oh, we love you guys. Uh, Leaders Group is a big supporter of NAILBA. You're a big supporter of all the brokerage general agencies out there, so, uh, I'm sure you're- you're very recognizable.

Dan LaBert:
Well, that being said, let's dive right in. Uh, as you are the chief compliance officer, so I know you can go super deep on all these questions. But, uh, I'm gonna force you to stay at the surface level, or at very much the surface level of a BGA principal. How's that?

Jane Riley:
That sounds great. Otherwise, I can get kind of compliance geeky.

Dan LaBert:
(laughs) All right, let's dive right into it. Um, as an insurance-focused broker dealer, um, let's just talk about compliance. How do you approach it with requirements for wholesale BGAs and retail agents registered with The Leaders Group? What is the- what is the holistic approach?

Jane Riley:
Well, you know, at The Leaders Group, our whole philosophy is doing the right thing is always the right thing. So that means, we're out there to protect the customers, our representatives, the BGAs, and of course, The Leaders Group.

Dan LaBert:
Sure.

Jane Riley:
So that's how we look at everything. Is as long as we are protecting the customers, we're protecting our representatives and we're protecting the firm.

Jane Riley:
On the wholesale side of the business, we're not dealing with customers as such. Our customers are the other financial advisors. So, we're there to protect those financial advisors, making sure that even if they're not with The Leaders Group, they're still doing things right. That our BGAs are protected because they're doing things the right way. And of course, that The Leaders Group is.

Jane Riley:
So, we're really here to facilitate the client's business. We try to get away from that old, you know, idea that compliance is here to just stop you from doing things. So-

Dan LaBert:
(laughs)

Jane Riley:
It's a holistic, do the right thing, and everybody stays out of trouble.

Katie Fehlinger:
We are going to take just a short break. Don't go anywhere; there's more Brokerage in Motion coming up.


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Katie Fehlinger:
Time now for our ID Why segment, where we shine the spotlight on the people in the industry, and learn what drives them.

Katie Fehlinger:
To many, this NAILBA member a familiar face. A man with a decades-long career in brokerage that was sparked when he returned from the Vietnam War. Here's his story.

Katie Fehlinger:
1968: young men around the country are being drafted, forced out of the routine of their daily lives, and into another. For Art Jetter, it was no different.

Art Jetter:
I was selling, uh, clothes in the Mens & Boys Clothing Store, and I was making a dollar an hour. And the next thing you- you know, you're flying around with a million-and-a half dollar helicopter, blowing stuff up and getting shot at. And, uh, it's a, you know, quite a change.

Katie Fehlinger:
Trained as a Cobra helicopter gunship pilot, Art fought in Vietnam with a select group of only a few dozen.

Art Jetter:
Uh, those pilots all became dear friends of mine, and those that are still left, and are still dear friends of mine. And we stay in fairly good, close contact.

Katie Fehlinger:
Art returned home in December of 1971. Just several months later, eight of the 32 pilots with whom he served tragically died in combat.

Art Jetter:
It's kind of a tough thing, uh, to- to- uh, to have that happen. And, uh, to- to good friends. I came home fine. I just, uh, regret that we lost good people. And, uh, but I think that we all together made a pretty good team.

Katie Fehlinger:
And it was the fresh reminder of his teammates that helped Art when it came time to decide on a career path after the war: which was, of course, insurance. A primer on the benefits of owning a policy, an interview with a recruiter, and Art was hooked.

Art Jetter:
And I thought, "Somebody shoulda told us that when we were in Vietnam. We all would've bought these great big policies." And then he told me how much it cost, and I thought, "Why- why doesn't everybody do this?"

Katie Fehlinger:
He's been in the business ever since.

Katie Fehlinger:
What would you say it is that drives you to work in this field every day?

Art Jetter:
Yeah, I love what we do. I think we're just wonderfully blessed, being able to affect so many lives in a positive way. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something, um, wonderful.

Katie Fehlinger:
Just one of the reasons Art's been a staunch supporter of NAILBA almost since the beginning. When he attended his first annual meeting, his agency was small. And at the time, he didn't know anyone else who had one.

Art Jetter:
Then I see all these people there that they're doing what I'm doing. And I was just, uh, shocked. I met some of the most fantastic people, uh, when I got into NAILBA. And so many questions that I would have about how to run my business; the answers were already discovered by many of them.

Katie Fehlinger:
The professional camaraderie kept Art coming back, and giving back to the association as a past board chair, among other roles. Work and dedication that earned him the coveted Mooers Award in 2014.

Art Jetter:
I think if somebody's gonna give you an award like the Mooers Award, make sure Ray Phillips is the guy that introduces you. I thought, uh-

Katie Fehlinger:
(laughs)

Art Jetter:
Yeah, I- I got goosebumps listening to Ray talk about me.
Video:
In concert with the growth of his agency, so too grew his commitment to giving back and serving this industry. Indeed, the positions of leadership and the recognitions of his industry service are nothing short of phenomenal.

Katie Fehlinger:
Service to country, colleagues, and his own clients. For Art, it's a cornerstone of a life well lived.

Art Jetter:
I think that each of us have a responsibility if we're gonna be in this business. We gotta give something back. We gotta do as, and- and as much as- as possible. Uh, or practical.

Katie Fehlinger:
And right now, I am joined by CEO Dan LaBert. And Dan, as mentioned this at the top of the show: the vote regarding a NAILBA-Finseca merge is complete. So, let's dive into details. Can you talk about the vote process and results? And was there any notable member feedback that came in along the way?

Dan LaBert:
There was. It was actually a really exciting process to go through. The member engagement, uh, in, you know, from the NAILBA and member agencies was through the roof. Uh, I'm happy to say that it was a significant amount: over 80% of the agencies, uh, that were eligible to vote, and did vote, um, um, was the total number for the vote. So it was significant.

Dan LaBert:
And even of those who were are- of those were a little on the fence, they- they still believe in the mission of NAILBA. They understand what we're trying to do. They're willing to get involved. And we're gonna get them involved, right? We're gonna get the people who were on the No side to- to vote.

Dan LaBert:
Um, but still, there weren't that many; 80-plus percentage, uh, of the member voting agencies. Uh, it was a significant number.

Katie Fehlinger:
Good. So, what's next for NAILBA? Uh, is there a targeted date for integration there? Uh, and how's this going to impact NAILBA member agencies?

Dan LaBert:
So, now's when the sort of the hard work begins, if I already didn't think the past few months was a lot of work.

Katie Fehlinger:
(laughs)

Dan LaBert:
Um, right now we're working on all the internal logistics. You know, the legal side of things, the accounting side of things, uh, you know, the personnel side of things. So everything is working there.

Dan LaBert:
We're targeting, you know, the- the late June-early July, uh, fully integrated. I'm hoping probably by June 30th; we'll call it that. But you know, it could go, stretch a few more days.

Dan LaBert:
But more importantly, that's the inside of NAILBA. How this impacts the members is nothing- there's n- there'll be no impact on the members. Their membership will have access to all the NAILBA member resources, which- which they're accustomed to.

Dan LaBert:
When we open up registration for the annual meeting if they're a member, they'll- they'll still get their, uh, free, uh, registration as part of their membership for- for one of the attending, uh, representatives from their agency. So, all good, right?

Dan LaBert:
And then we'll- we'll slowly start adding some of the value from Finseca into the brokerage community, the NAILBA community, so that they can start realizing the benefits o- of this merger.

Dan LaBert:
But for this year, as we discussed, uh, you're not gonna see many changes. You will see an enhanced annual meeting and some great things we have planned.

Dan LaBert:
Uh, I mean, you want to call it- call it Washington Update, uh, two weeks after the election. So, it- it will, you will start seeing the value almost immediately come, uh, come the November annual meeting.

Katie Fehlinger:
That sounds great. So, all right, Dan, it would be really easy for us, I think, to talk merger, all merger (laughs) all the time in this discussion. But we do have a lot more going on besides that.

Katie Fehlinger:
So are there any important summer activities you want to make the membership aware of? Save the dates, anything like that?

Dan LaBert:
You mean outside of the merger? (laughs)

Katie Fehlinger:
Exactly. Exactly. (laughs)

Dan LaBert:
Um, so, well, NAILBA will be back with its, uh, summer symposium. It will be in August this year, the first week of August. And then August 4th, which, I believe, the last day, that will be our NAILBA case managers symposium. We're gonna roll out, um, all of these save the dates and what content you can see. Of course, it's all gonna be on demand.

Dan LaBert:
And the first two days of the summer symposiums are, you know, complimentary registration. You do have to register. But there's no charge. Do it; it's part of being a, you know, a partner of NAILBA, a member of NAILBA.

Dan LaBert:
The case manager will have a nominal registration because that is very specific to the case manager. So, summer symposium, um, in August. We'll talk more about that in future Brokerage in Motion.

Dan LaBert:
And, a- as I alluded to earlier, annual meeting registration always opens up in the summer. That will continue. So look for that, as we will be back at the Gaylord Texan, uh, with an exciting program. And like I said, some of the enhancements around fr- as a result of the merger, will be on display at the annual meeting in November.

Dan LaBert:
So, registration opens up this summer. And summer symposium and case manager symposium. And yeah, no rest for the weary.

Katie Fehlinger:
(laughs) Sounds good. All great info, as always. Thank you so much, Dan.

Dan LaBert:
Thanks, Katie.

Katie Fehlinger:
That is going to do it for this episode of Brokerage in Motion. Thanks for watching, and we'll see you next time.

Anncr.:
Leading the financial planning business, Simplicity Group is proud to support its distribution partners, advisors, and consumers with industry education and long-term consumer value. Step into the future with Simplicity Group. Visit simplicitygroup.com for more information.