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FindBob is helping aging insurance and financial industries establish succession plans

If your insurance agent or financial advisor is older than you, chances are they’ll retire before you do. What happens to your assets if they’re no longer handling them? The Toronto startup FindBob, which recently completed the Global Insurance Accelerator in Des Moines, is trying to make it easier for agents and advisors to put a chain of succession in place.

How FindBob works

FindBob founder and CEO Roland Chan became a successor to a decades-old insurance company in 2009, so business succession plans have always been front of mind for him. Shortly after he took over the business, one if his advisors passed away. Suddenly, part of his business was facing difficult challenges.

“He didn’t have a continuity or succession plan, so he didn’t have anything to protect the most valuable portion of his business,” Chan said. “It took us a year to get any of that value transferred to his family, and a significant amount had eroded in that time due to attrition. Many of the agents and advisors who attended his funeral poached his clients from him.”

Chan sees it as a four-pronged problem. His firm lost assets, and the advisor’s life’s work was devalued. His family was left in the lurch, as well as many of his customers. The average age of a financial advisor is 59, and Chan said 80 percent don’t have a transition plan. It’s a big problem, one Chan hopes FindBob can solve.Chan said people are talking about the problem, but few are doing anything to address it.  The big issue is agents and advisors find the process to be daunting, and there’s no easy way to find an adequate partner. FindBob’s purpose is to connect those partners. Think of it like a dating site, but to find help an insurance agent find a partner to carry their business into the future.

Chan said people are talking about the problem, but few are doing anything to address it.  The big issue is agents and advisors find the process to be daunting, and there’s no easy way to find an adequate partner. FindBob’s purpose is to connect those partners. Think of it like a dating site, but to find help an insurance agent find a partner to carry their business into the future.FindBob helps agents and advisors find a partner who can complement the needs of an existing business.  The platform helps to demystify the process for finding that partner and setting up a continuity plan.

FindBob helps agents and advisors find a partner who can complement the needs of an existing business.  The platform helps to demystify the process for finding that partner and setting up a continuity plan.“We’ve positioned ourselves as a growth and perpetuation platform,” Chan said. “If an advisor is on the sell side of the market, we might be able to help them find a junior advisor interested in buying into the business over a period of time. We can also help connect like-minded advisors with complementary skill sets so they can work together and generate more revenue for each other and the carrier or firm they do business with.”

“We’ve positioned ourselves as a growth and perpetuation platform,” Chan said. “If an advisor is on the sell side of the market, we might be able to help them find a junior advisor interested in buying into the business over a period of time. We can also help connect like-minded advisors with complementary skill sets so they can work together and generate more revenue for each other and the carrier or firm they do business with.”FindBob and the Global Insurance Accelerator

FindBob and the Global Insurance Accelerator

FindBob was already doing business before entering the accelerator, but Chan and GIA managing director Brian Hemesath think the experience have helped to refine the product and business model.

“FindBob was extremely intriguing to us since they’re well-rooted in the financial space and interested in getting more involved in the insurance space,” GIA managing director Brian Hemesath said. “The issues they’re dealing with are absolutely a concern, so the market applications for FindBob are very real.”

To America and beyond

For now, FindBob is focused on closing deals with prospective customers and building up its sales, marketing and product development arm. The company is already generating revenue in Canada, and Chan wants to see the company expanding its services into the US and the rest of the world.

“At the end of the day, insurance is still a product that is sold, not bought,” Chan said. “Customers expect a trusted advisor for that. The way I think about it, we want to treat agents and advisors the same way we expect them to treat clients, by focusing on their needs.”

Joe Lawler is a freelance reporter based in Des Moines.