2011 Business Excellence Awards
The Toronto Board of Trade is awarding Business Excellence Awards on November 9, 2011. The application form requests "as much detail as possible". For the convenience of the judges, here is an nomination with web links to the resources mentioned in the paper version.
CATEGORY: Start-up/New Business Award
NOMINEE: Promod Sharma ("pro-MODE")
How do you build trust when the public is skeptical?
Surveys routinely show there's low trust in insurance advisors. CFIB found that advisors are the least consulted source of information and advice (click on chart to enlarge).
Toronto Board of Trade supporter, The Globe And Mail reported that insurance advisors are poorly regulated and there are conflicts of interest in the advice they give.
- Through Canada's Insurance Loophole (Dec 17, 2010)
- What your insurance broker doesn't want you to know (Dec 21, 2010)
Promod wrote a related blog post about what else is wrong in the insurance world.
The Internet has brought transparency to many businesses but life insurance remains a mystery. Couple that with low financial literacy (see The ABCs of 123). It's no wonder that trust is so low.
Yet life insurance is essential for financial peace of mind for loved ones. How can the public be better served?
Promod has devoted his life to insurance. He invested 10 years to become an actuary. Next he designed life/health insurance products for 10 years. He then helped advisors sell insurance for five years. This is when he saw firsthand that the public lacks the knowledge they need to make sound decisions. Where can they go for independent advice they trust? Accountants are the top choice but they receive no formal training in the intricacies and tax advantages of life insurance. Accountants need education too. Where can they turn?
Why not share the best of what you know for free?
The Tool Of Empowerment
Social media makes sharing possible. As an experiment, Promod started blogging in February 2007 (over 400 posts at Riscario Insider for the public and Marketing Actuary for entrepreneurs). He later started using LinkedIn, podcasts and Twitter. He also showed advisors how they could do this too. Few followed yet the public started contacting him for help.
In 2010, Promod launched Taxevity to sell life and health insurance. The fresh approach to sharing via social media lead to
- an interview with the Toronto Star through the Toronto Board of Trade (April)
- a presentation on Building Trust With Social Media at the prestigious CALU conference where Stephen Harper spoke for 8 years (May)
- election as President of Goodyear Toastmasters (effective Jul 1, 2011 - Jun 30, 2012): background
Since social media can help other entrepreneurs market better, Promod shares what he learns through blogging (marketingactuary.com) and presentations. He even helps his competitors. This year, he spoke to
- Pro-Seminars (Jan): details
- Estate Planning Council of Mississauga (Feb): details
- Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) (May): details
- Strategic Alliance Financial Group (Jun): details
Why? He's committed to seeing the public served better. Life insurance is essential but poorly understood. Education is an neglected path to better decisions by clients and more sales for the life insurance industry. That's a win/win.
Here are work highlights:
- 1984: Graduated from the University of Western Ontario (4 scholarships)
- 1993: full actuary (FSA, FCIA); designing life & health insurance products
- 2005: started helping top advisors sell life insurance
- 2010: started Taxevity to sell life insurance
You'll find details and testimonials on LinkedIn
A resident of Toronto since 1991.
- fully-qualified actuary (FSA, FCIA)
- blogging since 2007 (over 400 posts)
- President of Goodyear Toastmasters
Thanks for considering this nomination for a Business Excellence Award.