Differentiation should be a top priority for any modern mortgage broker. Competition is increasing, and consumers have more options than ever before, so making adjustments that will compel buyers to work with you can make a real difference to your bottom line.
One way to boost relationships with existing clients is by being able to offer them other products such as life insurance. Convenience is what the modern consumer demands, and offering a product that a client would usually have to get from another type of financial advisor or broker can definitely help to achieve that.
The majority of clients will need insurance to cover their mortgage and are usually offered creditor insurance. But when a broker is able to offer their clients an insurance policy where the face value doesn’t decline, they can name a beneficiary of their choosing and the funds can be used for other things, there’s a lot more flexibility and value for the client.
“For the mortgage broker, being able to sell life insurance offers an opportunity to expand their business and grow their revenues,” says Christina Ashmore, managing director of IFSE Institute. “From a business perspective, they can increase the dollars they make per client with sales of additional products. Selling additional products to existing clients is a more cost-effective way to increase revenues compared to attracting new clients.”
In order to equip brokers to sell life insurance policies, IFSE offers the Life License Qualification Program [LLQP], an online course that breaks down complex concepts and gives brokers the skills to become a competent insurance professional.
“It provides candidates with the flexibility to complete the course of study at their own pace,” Ashmore says. “After candidates register through IFSE’s website, they receive access to all the course material, numerous tools and aids to help them study, and the certification exams. In addition, IFSE’s website provides candidates with additional helpful information on how to become licensed, links to the provincial regulators and useful study tips.”
Ashmore believes that embracing continuing education is crucial for mortgage brokers in the current environment. With the constantly evolving landscape, it’s more important than ever for brokers to stay informed and knowledgeable.
“As a professional, continuous learning is not only an expectation, but a necessity,” she says. “The industry is always innovating, and offering new products, as well as introducing new technologies, can be competitive to agents or assist them in being more productive.”
Depending on the broker’s location, there are either four or five modules to be completed in the LLQP. Once a broker has passed IFSE’s certification process, they can then write the provincial regulatory exams.
The main areas of the LLQP’s focus are life insurance, accident and sickness insurance, segregated funds, and ethics and professional practice. Brokers learn about the different types of insurance products, the features and benefits, the underwriting and claims process, ethical standards, the needs analysis process, and how to make proper recommendations.
Because it’s a self-study online course, brokers are able schedule their studying any way they want. Candidates have one year to complete the certification and another year to successfully pass the licensing exams. If brokers want to fast-track their studying and finish the program more quickly, they can arrange their schedule to do so. If they want to do one module at a time and take a little longer, they’re free to do so as long as they are within the one-year timeframe.
“IFSE caters to adult learners, and the majority of our students are working full- or part-time while they’re studying with us,” Ashmore says. “Students can pick and choose the tools that work for them. We have course manuals, study guides, sample exams, flash cards and videos to help them prepare. They can decide how they want to learn.”
The LLQP offers brokers an avenue to create a whole new revenue stream. With the mortgage industry in the midst of a period of change, adding another string to your bow presents obvious benefits. More clients are looking for intermediaries who can help manage every area of their financial life. The role of the ‘family CFO’ is becoming increasingly sought after, and brokers who continue to develop and add capabilities have a good chance of fitting the requirements of that role.
But it’s not just brokers who benefit from completing courses like the LLQP. It’s also a boon for their clients.
“By working with someone they already have a relationship with, the client has already built up trust and confidence with that individual,” Ashmore says. “It also saves clients time since the mortgage broker will already know about their situation and what their needs are. Instead of sending the client to someone else to take care of the insurance, the mortgage broker can make it a seamless process for their clients. The mortgage broker can help them get it done, and it’s another thing clients don’t need to worry about.”
Christina Ashmore, IFSE Institute