Also expands recruitment efforts for diverse agents
Q&A with top expert Greg Faux, Second VP, Product Management, Individual Life at The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Greg Faux, Second Vice President, Product Management, Individual Life at The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America: Greg Faux joined Guardian Life in 2017 where he heads up the Individual Life Product Development department. With over 25 years of experience in the life insurance industry, Greg’s approach to product is driven by years in advanced markets, competition and marketing and brings a distinct distribution mindset to the development process. Greg can be reached at Greg_Faux@glic.com.
CalBroker (CB): Given all the dramatic forces at play in the world right now, do you see growth in particular niche markets in response? Are you seeing any new trends or new business segments that are growing?
Greg Faux (GF): Small business owners were impacted by COVID-19 disproportionately and we’ve seen strong growth in that market segment through increased interest in business protection
and employee retention solutions. Easy-to-purchase protection products such as Term saw the strongest growth initially. By the latter part of 2020 and through the first half of 2021, the market shifted back to a balance of protection and savings with a strong surge in the Whole Life market.
CB: What is happening with your distribution systems? If you have an agency force, is it growing? Are you hiring? Is there more attrition than usual?
GF: From a life insurance perspective, we’ve seen an increase in life insurance sales and an increased need for financial professionals. Since the pandemic, we are hearing from clients that protecting families is at the forefront and people are seeking assistance to ensure that their families are cared for in the future.
At Guardian, we are a general agency (GA) system. Guardian firms across the country are all led and owned by general agents. While each general agent has his/her own approach to how they lead and grow their organization, there is a deep partnership among the GAs and the home office. They are charged with bringing in financial representatives and carrying out local recruiting.
What’s great about this profession is that no specific background is required.
“When we are looking for prospective recruits, we are looking for someone who has grit, perseverance, and an entrepreneurial spirit. We need people who are open to meeting new people and who can deal with rejection, since there is a lot of that in this career.”
We are noticing that since many people had to work differently during the health crisis, it allowed many to reassess how they work and question if it fulfills their true passions. What’s great about this profession is that no specific background is required. When we are looking for prospective recruits, we are looking for someone who has grit, perseverance, and an entrepreneurial spirit. We need people who are open to meeting new people and who can deal with rejection, since there is a lot of that in this career.
CB: Please discuss any diversity and inclusion issues in life insurance/life sales and/or your company’s workforce that you feel are important right now.
GF: Across the industry, we are all seeing an aging financial professional population, with a median age of 55. We continuously look for individuals to carry the torch forward and that our clients and communities can rely on for guidance.
We have developed many internship, mentorship and training programs to help new recruits become successful in this career. There may still be many biases on how people view insurance organizations, and we need to stress how this is a profound career where you can make a significant change in many people’s lives and dictate your own success. We’ve taken to social media to boost our recruiting efforts and we’re leaning on our current financial professionals to refer recruits to us from their centers of influence. We are especially interested in non-traditional recruits who have unusual educational backgrounds, have experienced deviations from linear career paths or align with underrepresented communities since this allows us to serve more people.
CB: What, if any, state or federal legislative issues are you concerned about? Modifications to IRS code 7702* as a result of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act has resulted in changes to the guaranteed cash value rates for our Whole Life portfolio. The legislative change in and of itself is a positive. However, the scale of the change and the one-year timeline for compliance has created a rush to reprice, refile and implement our portfolio. Any products not repriced by the end of 2021 will no longer be available for sale which adds significant pressure to meeting the deadline.
From a state perspective, we are monitoring the impact of Washington State’s Care Fund — the first of its kind public Long Term Care benefit funded by a new tax on employee wages. While it’s encouraging that the need for Long Term Care is recognized, the benefit provided is low and may provide a false sense of security for citizens who may ultimately find themselves unprepared for the high cost of care.
Section 7702 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Code defines what the federal government considers to be a legitimate life insurance contract and is used to determine how the proceeds are taxed. The proceeds of policies that do not meet the government’s definition are taxable as ordinary income.]
For More Info On Guardian Life:
- LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/ company/the-guardian-life-insurance- company-of-america_164085/
- Twitter: @GuardianLife
COMPILED BY THORA MADDEN