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This article appears in the Oct. 2022 issue of Investment Executive. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.

Some insurance advisors are less likely to recommend their agencies to peers than they were a year ago, according to Investment Executive’s 2022 Insurance Advisors’ Report Card. But they are still generally positive about endorsing their firms.

The collective Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures the likelihood that advisors would recommend their firm to other advisors, dropped to 61.6 (across six agencies and 211 advisors) from 69.4 (across seven agencies and 288 advisors) in 2021. Both results were above the threshold of 50, which indicates satisfaction and loyalty among advisors (For more on NPS, see the results chart).

An equal number of agencies exceeded that level and fell below it.

IDC Worldsource Insurance Network Inc. (IDC WIN) and PPI Management Inc. (PPI) each received a perfect NPS of 100, up from 95.1 and 94.0, respectively, a year ago.

Both agencies were praised for being industry leaders. An IDC WIN advisor in Alberta said the managing general agent (MGA) is a stable and “positive” place to work with a “very valuable” leadership team. “The company can always improve, but they’re the best in the business,” they added.

An advisor with PPI in Alberta said, “I’ve worked with some of the other large MGAs over the years, and the support and approachability here is second to none.”

Three agencies sat below 50 but above zero — meaning more people would recommend the agency than wouldn’t: Canada Life Assurance Co., Financial Horizons Group Inc. (FHG), and Sun Life Financial Distributors (Canada) Inc. (SLFD).

Canada Life saw its NPS result drop to 25.8 this year from 52.4 in 2021.

When asked how the agency could improve its support, many Canada Life advisors brought up the firm’s digital support, although client services also came up.

“They could most improve on the [client relationship management tool] and client services, [plus] software technology and training for technology, ” said a Canada Life advisor in Ontario.

Those who would recommend Canada Life cited its longevity as a plus. “It’s a large company and clients trust the fact that it’s been around for a long time,” said another Canada Life advisor in Ontario. “It’s a good company to represent.”

Rob DeMott, senior vice-president, Advisor Solutions, with Canada Life, touted the agency’s “significant digital investments in our platforms.”

DeMott added that Canada Life has hired more staff to support client services. “In 2021, we actually helped more than 150 advisor practices add talent,” he said. A key priority for the agency is “supporting advisors wherever they’re at in their business cycle.”

FHG received an NPS of 46.7, down from 70.0 a year ago. Reviews of the MGA were mixed. “I [have] brought a bunch of agents here,” said an FHG advisor in British Columbia. “If [the agency does] a good job for me, I do a good job for them.”

“Right now, I’m unsure of how the MGA is going to change itself and its culture,” said an FHG advisor in the Prairies.

“We take advisor loyalty very seriously,” an FHG spokesperson said in an email. “We continually evaluate and refine our advisor support model, tools, resources and programs.” FHG added that advisor feedback led to the creation of platforms such as the Horizons advisor success program, launched in 2021.

At SLFD, where the NPS dipped to 23.3 from 37.5, rapid changes in the industry were a factor.

“A lot of client-centricity has struck over the years and [there’s] increased pressure for advisors,” said an advisor in Atlantic Canada. They noted that SLFD needs to “allow us to breathe for a while after making the changes.”

Another of SLFD’s advisors in that region said referrals are difficult because insurance is a “challenging business to come into right now.”

SLFD president Rowena Chan cited a recent change that might make the agency more attractive to advisors. “In 2022, we enhanced our compensation bonus for new advisors,” she said. Effective in 2023 and with a focus on long-term, holistic planning, the new model “demonstrates our commitment to stay[ing] competitive in the marketplace.”

The remaining agency in the Report Card, RBC Life Insurance Co., received an NPS of 65.6 (up from 62.9 in 2021). “There are opportunities for personal growth and personal development,” said an RBCI advisor in Ontario. “It’s a respectful environment as well and there’s great leadership.”