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 Q Looking ahead to an eventual economic recovery, what opportunities do you foresee?
A The pandemic has demonstrated to our company that we can col- laborate virtually. We need to continue to think about the power of
digital and leveraging virtual work to move the business forward. [The pandemic] also highlighted the power of advice and advisors.
While advice can be perceived as a means to an end — to develop a plan or make a transaction — the pandemic showed that advice gives clients confidence and helps them stay the course. We saw the power of advisors counselling clients and their families through this crisis
— coaching small-business owners, explaining to clients why they should continue to pay premiums or making changes to plans to adapt to new circumstances.
Q What innovations could we see in life insurance products or sales?
A All companies, including ours, need to raise their game in terms of innovation in life insurance. In contrast,
wealth-management [firms] and group life and health [insurers] have generally seen significant innovation. We see opportunity within client flexibility: how can we design our products so they work for clients’ changing needs? Sometimes, clients are expected to adapt to products instead of the other way around. Winning companies will be those that create products for clients that are flexible, customized and digitally enabled in terms of how they’re bought and managed. You can’t scale paper.
Q You’re experienced in public policy.
What policy developments are you working on?
A Our policy work has recently been tactical [in response to the pandemic]. Longer term, we’re focused on the value of advice,
and advisor training and qualifications to provide advice. We’re also focused on the fair treatment of customers, including fee disclosure, and we’re involved with the Canadian Council of Insurance Regula- tors to advance that discussion. Information regarding fee disclosure must be relevant without creating confusion.
Q After Canada Life moved to one product shelf, how did advisors and clients respond?
A While our three product lines served us well for many years, product development, marketing and legacy technology were
ment for the brand. Uniting our 11,000 employees across the country under the new brand has resulted in significant energy and positive momentum.
Q Among recent product enhancements
was the introduction of a no-sales-charge option
on seg funds. What was the response?
A There’s a move to no-load in wealth management, and we brought out the no-sales-charge option last year. Where advi-
sors had perhaps relied on a deferred sales charge in the past, the no sales charge was a good option for them and their clients. We’ve seen the funds being adopted quite well, as expected.
As risk becomes better understood, we’d like to offer more cover- age digitally, with less evidence. [For people aged 50 and under], we recently increased our coverage amounts available through Simple- Protect to up to $1 million without any vitals or fluids.
We’ve seen a significant increase in non-face-to-face use of the platform, driven in part by the pandemic. That could be the new normal as advisors learn to trust the platform.
becoming more difficult. With the move to one shelf, the feedback has been positive because it’s easier to understand the company
and our products, and we can be more responsive to client and advisor needs. With a single brand, we’ve been able to invest in a single product delivery, with improved efficiency and quality. We also introduced a new segregated fund shelf late last year with 75 funds chosen from the Canada Life, Great-West Life and London Life shelves.
We had an outstanding first quarter [for] life insurance and seg- regated fund sales, which I attribute to product quality and excite-
What’s your advice for advisors?
We’ve made changes related to efficiency in response to advisor
Advisors [currently] are asked to spend too much time on
We’ve made a corporate commitment to our staff and advisors
Will advisors see changes to the firm’s digital tool, SimpleProtect?
and client feedback. The program now includes term, critical illness and [participating policies]. Our view is there should be a sim- ple, digital version of almost everything that we do.
The program includes search and filter capabilities, and will allow advisors to edit client information in real time and upload docu- ments securely and submit them to head office. The result will be greater productivity, compliance and [a better] client experience.
Just as advisors need to hear from the firm during a crisis, clients need to hear from advisors. A crisis is an advisor’s time to shine, when clients need advice and support. Our business isn’t only about sales; it’s about taking care of people and making a difference. IE
What plans do you have for technological innovation?
administrative tasks, which prevents them from doing what they do best: spending time with clients, identifying goals and solving problems. To help, we’ve created Advisor Workspace, a workbench program that will provide advisors with a consolidated view of their businesses, and which we plan to launch in the second quarter.
to communicate. During the pandemic, that means weekly calls with thousands of advisors, with information from doctors and our investment experts and operations staff. That way, advisors stay up to date and know what we know in real time.

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