NAILBA Brokerage in Motion Insurbrief - Episode 6

Audio transcription – November 3, 2021 

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Featuring:
  • Katie Fehlinger, NAILBA
  • Dan LaBert, NAILBA
  • Dominic Blue, Head of MassMutual
  • Tracey Edgar, AVP, Life Sales Leader at Nationwide Financial

SPEAKER TEXT

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 to everything you need to know from across independent distribution. I'm Katie Fehlinger.

In industry headlines, NAILBA, as well as NAFA and multiples other association representing a cross-section of financial and business interests, signed a joint trade letter to Congress expressing strong opposition to the proposed new tax information reporting regime, as described by the Department of Treasury.

The joint letter asserts the proposal by Congress would impact almost every American by creating serious financial privacy concerns as well as operational challenges, and that it would increase tax preparation costs. Dozens of organizations signed the letter, which was sent to Senate and House leaders.

In partnership news, Simplicity Group announced the launch of a new indexed universal life digital sales platform in connection with Ensight. Designed for financial professionals, the tax-free retirement based platform represents a new standard to enable IUL digital sales and a goal of further enhancing Simplicity's digital capabilities and innovation footprint.
And new leadership at several organizations. Sammons Financial Group announced Jerry Blair as the next president of Sammons Life Insurance Group. Blair joined the company in 2005 and most recently held the position of chief distribution officer. In is new role, Blair will lead the life business lines or members companies Midland National and North American.
Meanwhile, Crump Life Insurance services has a new president as well. Michael Martini has assumed the new position, taking over for Rob Carney, who was recently appointed CEO. In his new role, Martini will lead all sales channels with a focus on overall growth.

And a new face at iPipeline. The firm announced Kimberly Beck as the new VP of Marketing. Beck brings nearly 25 years of financial service marketing experience to her new role, and will lead all aspects of company marketing, including digital, product, customer engagement, and corporate communications. A well-deserved congratulations to all of our colleagues.
If you have any carrier or industry announcements or news to share, we would of course love to hear about it. Feel free to email us at [email protected]

Turning it now to CEO Dan LaBert who's talking with Dominic Blue of MassMutual Strategic Distributors. Dan?

Dan LaBert:
Thanks so much, Katie. Dominic, let's jump right in. Can you tell us a bit more about MassMutual Strategic Distributors?

Dominic Blue:
Sure. And, and first, just like any other insurance company, we love acronyms as MassMutual, so we refer to MassMutual Strategic Distributors as MMSD. Well, it's MassMutual's newest division, and we are exclusively dedicated to third-party distribution partners and offering MassMutual's retail protection in income products.
Now we're, we are focused on BGAs, independent broker dealers, and financial firms, many of which are NAILBA members. And since our launches a few months ago in March, we've been really busy building partnerships and relationships with firms that want to offer MassMutual's products, uh, to their customers so they can help them reach their financial goals and protect their families. And Dan, I, I'll tell you what. The reception that we have received from NAILBA members have been very, very encouraging.

Dan LaBert:
Well that's awesome to hear, um, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna take it easy on you here.

Dominic Blue: No.

Dan LaBert:
I mean, we, I represent the voice of Independent boke- broker distribution. I'm, I'm throwing the high heater at you right to start. Um, what prompted, you know, MassMutual's decision to commit to third-party distribution, and, and as we know, we live in interesting times, so why now?

Dominic Blue:
Yeah, and we got that question a lot, especially very early on. And what I can say is, if you take a step back, the competitive landscape has really been shifting for a few years now. I think you can even argue that it's been accelerating even more recently. Um, so there's a lot of market disruption. Everything from company consolidations to some carriers exiting markets or discontinuing some of their products, and non-traditional carrier entering the market. And we believe that third-party distribution is just a great opportunity for us to reach far more customers who will benefit from our solutions, and also thoughtfully diversify our business.

Now our decision to expand third-party do- distribution is really just driven by our desire to meet customers where they're at with the financial solutions that they need. And we've been around for 170 years, and there's been a lot of change over that period of time, and I think, personally, I think it's a great opportunity for MassMutual to lean in and a reliable partner during this time of change for our distribution partners and their customers.

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

{Commercial Break}

Katie Fehlinger:
Hey there everyone. Katie Fehlinger here, and I am so excited to be MCing and helping to host this years NAILBA annual meeting, better known as #NAILBA40 for all you social buffs. (laughs) I cannot wait to see all the familiar faces in person at the Gaylord Palms, November 15th through the 17th.

And any of you who have attended the NAILBA annual meeting in the past know, it is where business gets done. It's where relationships are built, and it's where great, innovative ideas come to life. You know the keynote speakers and that the presentations, they're always top notch. This year's no different.

We've got Shark Tank's Daymond John. We've got Olympic gold medalist goaltender Jim Craig. Yes, we believe in miracles. Andy Buckley will be there, best known for his role as David Wallace on The Office. We've got motivational speaker Terri Sjodin, former admiral Sandra Stosz, just to name a few.
But as your unofficial, yet self-proclaimed, social director for this event, (laughs) I personally cannot wait, just for the camaraderie and getting the chance to catch up with people that I am proud to be able to now call friends, and to have a little fun along the way, too.

So along with business, there are a bunch of ways that NAILBA will be bringing the entertainment factor to the in-person meeting, as well as the chance to honor our colleagues and support the fantastic work of our charitable foundation. And we'll be doing this with the Douglas Moore's Award for Excellence event on Tuesday night, followed by Casino Night, and then the NAILBA Classic Golf Tournament the next morning.

And we really shouldn't forget the return of NAILBA Rockstar. That happens Monday night, November 15th, and it's when the karaoke machine gets fired up for a battle of the carriers, techies, vendors, and life settling groups via karaoke. And this year, your trusted MC might just take the stage, which I believe would be a NAILBA first, so it's not one to miss.
Here's the bottom line. This meeting is going to be invigorating, productive, and lots of fun. You can check out the a- full agenda, get any and all info that you need at nailba.org. And we all know the landscape has changed for in-person events, but the entire NAILBA team, including me, is so excited to see everyone in person again in a safe way.
I can't wait to catch up with you all, and I really look forward to seeing you in Orlando.

Katie Fehlinger:
Welcome back to Brokerage in Motion. And now, our ID Why segment, where we spotlight the people that make up our profession and learn their why, their reasons for getting into the industry.

In this episode, we hear the story of one NAILBA member whose journey led her to executive leadership, but it began with getting her hands dirty. Take a look.

Tracey Edgar:
You know, I've thrown a live hand grenade. I've shot an M50 machine gun, a Light Anti-Tank Weapon. I've fixed helicopters, ridden in helicopters, marshaled helicopters, crew chiefed helicopters. I could rip the whole tail rotor drive shaft out of helicopter, but I can't change the oil in my car (laughs), right?

Katie Fehlinger:
Oil changes off the table, Tracey Edgar still has an impressive skill-set and an accomplished career background, which began in the military, a natural fit for her, with uncles who served in Vietnam and her father serving 30 years of active duty.

Tracey Edgar:
You know, I think I just was kind of taking after my dad, and my dad was somebody that I looked up to, so I think he set an example for me in that, that I followed.

Katie Fehlinger:
Her first 10 years out of high school, spent as a helicopter mechanic and master fitness trainer for the US Army.

Tracey Edgar:
You know, you go in there and you think you're learning things like fixing a helicopter, but at the end of the day, what you're really learning is prioritization and how to triage things, you know, and how to have self-discipline and self-control. And those are the things that the military gives you. I think it set a foundation for my leadership for the rest of my life.

Katie Fehlinger:
The next stop, college, where Tracey studied to become a registered nurse. But someone had to hire her.

Tracey Edgar:
I kind of just basically walked into the emergency department of the local hospital, level one trauma center, and I just said, "Hey, I, I, I want you to hire me." And they said, "Nah, sorry, we don't hire new grads." So I put together a whole, like, package. I call it my sizzle package. (laughs) And I walked it right into the ER, and I just said, "Look, I, I want to work here, and I want you to give me the job, and I'll do whatever it takes to make sure that I get all of the education and knowledge that I need to be really good."

Katie Fehlinger:
It takes a lot of grit and lot of determination, when they tell you no, to go back and say, "No, I can be of service to you. I have something to offer." It's a personality trait that I don't think a lot of people have.

Tracey Edgar:
Even when I was a little girl, there has never been (laughs) anybody who said, "Oh, you know Tracey, that little quiet, timid thing." (laughs) So it should be no surprise to anyone that I did something like that, and it frankly isn't the first time I've done it.

Katie Fehlinger:
The hospital director took a chance on her, making Tracey the hospital's first new grade hire in the level one trauma center in 13 years.

Tracey Edgar:
It was an amazing experience, because every day you have an opportunity to see something different and help people in, in different way.

Katie Fehlinger:
Tracey loved the patient care, but something stuck with her, as daily she'd watch hundreds of people come through the ER.

Tracey Edgar:
None of them were planning to be there on that day. I started thinking about that there's, there's just got to be a better way to be able to plan in advance for this kind of situation. So I heard about long term care insurance, and I decided that that was something I just needed to make sure people knew about.

Katie Fehlinger:
She felt the effects personally, too, when her own grandfather needed long term care.

Tracey Edgar:
So I just saw the financial devastation. I saw the emotional, um, impact that providing that kind of care had on my grandmother and on my family. At the end of my grandmother's life she also needed care. My mom provided that care for her, 24/7. So it's just seeing what the impact of providing care has on a family, when somebody doesn't have a good, uh, uh, a good plan in place to deal with that.
And so I just started really, um, feeling like that was my life's work.

Katie Fehlinger:
Work that's allowed Tracey to climb the ladder. Nearly 17 years at Genworth Financial, then a VP at OneAmerica, to now running the Life Insurance Division at Nationwide, all the while a staunch supporter of NAILBA and its members.

Tracey Edgar:
The people that attend NAILBA are like, they're like my family. And it doesn't matter whether it's another carrier partner, friend, or whether it is, uh, you know, BGA, IMO, distribution, that all attends that conference, these are people I've known for years and years, and I love being to come in there and hear all of the ideas that get shared. Uh, I always walk out of there invigorated. I also always walk out of there very tired, let's be real. (laughs)

Katie Fehlinger:
To some, Tracey's path may seem like one big career after another, but from fixing helicopters to patient care to carrier executive, one theme resonates through it all. Service.

Tracey Edgar:
Every role that I've had, you know, being on my third kind of major career, and each one of those careers are really just centered around service. I love the impact that I feel like I'm having, uh, on society, because I think these are things that people need to be thinking about.

{END ID WHY}

Katie Fehlinger:
And right now I am joined by CEO Dan LaBert. And Dan, NAILBA 40 just mere days away, the excitement is definitely building. So let's give everyone an update. First, can you talk about the current status on registrations?

Dan LaBert:
I'm excited. Are you?

Katie Fehlinger:
Completely.

Dan LaBert: (laughs)

Katie Fehlinger:
I cannot wait to see everybody. It's just gonna be so nice for that actual in-person interaction that I think everybody has just really been missing.

Dan LaBert:
Yeah. Well, I, I, I just returned from a few IMO meetings last month, and it proves that we can gather, we can do it together, we can be safe about it, and we can create a recognizable experience, and that is exactly what is planned for NAILBA 40.
But here's the real kicker. A lot of the events I attended this past month, you know, half about, about half as much or maybe three quarters as much. People are still figuring it out. Right now, NAILBA 40 has almost 600 people registered. There's still some time to go. Again, the exhibit hall is completely sold out. We said it was sold out last Brokerage in Motion-

Katie Fehlinger:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dan LaBert:
We found a few extra cubby holes and different spaces to stick some different exhibit booths because the demand is overwhelming. We are sold out, uh, in that exhibit hall, and registration is just, it keeps coming in. So this is exciting. Uh, the Gaylord Palms, again, we've always used that, sort of a punchline in the past, with, with the how much walking and how much space there is. Now that space is coming into play.
And of course, you know, you have the Florida weather, so we'll be outside for some events and creating a safe yet recognizable experience. How about that? You know, pandemic, or maybe hopefully post-pandemic or getting to a post-pandemic atmosphere, almost 600 already registered.

Katie Fehlinger:
That's fantastic news. And just over the last few weeks, we have released some new keynote speaker announcements since our last episode. So what can you tell us about some of the voices that we're going to hearing, some of the topics, and the meet and greets, too, that attendees are going to be able to experience?

Dan LaBert:
Yes, yes. We've, we've actually expanded the meet and greets this year, but we've been announcing the keynote speakers week by week. We've already announced some phenomenal names. I mean, Jim Craig, do you believe in miracles-

Katie Fehlinger: (laughs)

Dan LaBert:
... the goalie from the 1988 US, uh, hockey Olympic team. Um, you know, Shark sighting, Daymond John is scheduled, and, and, and has been announced. We have Admiral Sandy Stosz from the United Stated Coast Guard, Ross Bernstein, Wearing the C. I mean, there are just a number of great speakers.
Then of course, we're giving out some Dundee Awards, if you're familiar with that reference.

Katie Fehlinger: (laughs)

Dan LaBert:
Andy Buckley from The Office will also be, uh, part of NAILBA 40. And, and here's the great thing. So first off, Monday November 15th, we're gonna have an executive spotlight session. The meeting does not officially open until Tuesday A.M., November 16th, but because of the demand and wanting to spread out the mail stage space and give people an opportunity to move around and, and create a little bit more confidence as far as the flow of traffic and people, we created the executive spotlight session on Monday. That is when Daymond John will appear. Uh, that will start at 5:00 P.M. that evening. We have another speaker that's going to appear shortly after Daymond John concludes, and then we go to the exhibit hall opening, of course, NAILBA Rockstar that night.
And then Tuesday, uh, there's so many speakers I've already mentioned and some of the speakers that will be, soon be announced, uh, will appear that day.
But the exhibit hall, on Tuesday afternoon, with the exception of Daymond John and one other speaker, we'll have meet and greets for all attendees at the sponsor exhibitor booth of that keynote speaker. So all the other speakers have some, you know, fantastic books they've written. Some of them are New York Times bestsellers. Terri Sjodin comes to mind there. Um, they're gonna be at their sponsored booths, so from 2:15 to approximately 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday November 16th, the majority of the keynote speakers will be available for meet and greets in the exhibit hall.
So, um, little different than what we've done in the past. We thought we'd, we'd bring it out in the open more. Um, the sponsors are cool with it, because they ob- obviously, of course, want you to come by their booth, but the table creates a little space on the meet and greet, so everyone's in safe atmosphere. But yes, 2:15 to 3:00 P.M., the majority of the keynote speakers already announced will be in the exhibit hall signing their books.
And NAILBA has picked up the tab, uh, I believe for each speaker, and the first 50 to stop by their exhibit booth will get a co- a free copy of their, of their, uh, of their book, signed by, of course by the keynote speaker.
So um, a little different, little bit more engaging, but I mean, what a s- main stage we've put together. From Daymond John to Jim Craig, Terri Sjodin, Sandy Stosz, Ross Bernstein, and a few that we haven't yet made public yet, at least at the time of this, uh, recording. So it is fun times for NAILBA 40.

Katie Fehlinger:
Yeah. This is going to be a really exciting event. Uh, you know, aside from just all the business that we know gets done, all the networking that happens in the hallways, that this is just going to be very entertaining as well. So I think we'll all be walking out of there exhausted by the end, which is a good thing. Uh, but let's go-

Dan LaBert:
It is, it is.

Katie Fehlinger:
Yeah, yeah.

Katie Fehlinger: (laughs)
So we just have an outstanding lineup, and enough space to, to lay it all out, to accommodate everyone and, and really come for an experience.

Katie Fehlinger:
Absolutely agree with that. Let's shift gears a little bit here, branch off, because we are, as many know, running a hybrid event this year. Uh, so what about the virtual side of things? Is there a cross-over from in-person to virtual?

Dan LaBert:
That's the great question. No!

Katie Fehlinger: (laughs)

Dan LaBert:
(laughs) There's not cross-over. We've received that question a lot, and you know, just because you are gonna, uh, choose for the virtual option, which is 100% fine, does not mean you'll get to experience the speakers that I just mentioned. Um, those speakers are for in-person only, and the hybrid or virtual, or whatever the phrase we're calling for it, um, will be online and on-demand November 10th, December 8th and December 15th. That will feature, you know, different industry leaders talking about, um, either sales and products or, uh, or, you know, just leadership philosophies or different strategies that, that the viewers could, um, um, use moving forward.
But again, November 10th, December 8th, December 15th, uh, the topics for those days are listed on NAILBA.org under the Hybrid section. Uh, they will be live, and then they, of course, they'll be on-demand. But completely separate from the in-person meeting November 15th through the 17th. So as a small association, we've, we've tackled the elephant and we are producing a hybrid version and in-person version. Of course, hybrid is, is free and complementary for everyone to engage, and of course in-person has a transaction attached to it. But almost 600 other, others have already, have already, uh, registered their presence

Katie Fehlinger:
Sure.

Dan LaBert:
Uh, I'm encouraging both sides, but yes, no cross-over. None of that.

Katie Fehlinger:
None whatsoever. And I think also important to point out, too, that if you do attend strictly virtual, that's not the leftover sessions. These are still very highly impactful, very important, and uh, insightful knowledge that you're gonna be able to get from those extra sessions.

Dan LaBert:
That's great. And y- and you know, you're exactly right. And again, we, we opted to do the virtual because we were one of very few associations in the position to do this, since we pivoted in 2020 for NAILBA Engage, where we produced over 100+ hours of content, had well over 2,000 registrants, uh, lots of on-demand viewing. So we were already well-positioned to do this, because of our, our 2020 success, and then of course bring the NAILBA annual meeting back in a very recognizable way for 2021. So we're doing it, and uh, it's, it's scheduled, and it's on.

Katie Fehlinger:
All right. All very helpful info. Thank you so much, Dan. Looking forward to seeing you and everyone else in person in Orlando in a couple week.

Dan LaBert:
All right. #NAILBA40. See you soon.

Katie Fehlinger:
(laughs) You got it. That is going to do it for this episode of Brokerage in Motion. We look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks for watching.

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