“The Importance of Managing Risk”
“The failure to manage risk can have enormous unintended mental, emotional, and financial consequences,” says Julie Laferriere, Insurance Specialist and Business Development Manager, Sudbury and Barrie regions, for Financial Horizons Group. She has good reasons for saying so.
At the young age of 21, Julie’s biological dad died in a car accident when he fell asleep at the wheel on the drive home from a Fleetwood Mac concert. Julie was 7 month’s old and at home with her mom. Because there was no life insurance her family struggled financially for many years after the accident.
The couple had government car insurance which was common back then if someone couldn’t afford regular insurance. One of the downsides to government insurance is that it only covered damage to the vehicle; liability remained with her mom, the official owner/operator. It took 37 years to discharge this significant debt. Another unforeseen consequence from the accident was that Julie’s mom would not be allowed to have a driver’s license during most of Julie’s childhood as driving was considered a privilege.
Several years later, her mother remarried a wonderful man. Unfortunately, Julie’s second dad, the man who raised her, died prematurely from stomach cancer. He was just 46. Although Perry did have disability coverage through work, it was capped at a maximum monthly benefit of $1600, which was well under his regular pay cheque. Not only did the family struggle financially again, Julie’s mom could not afford to take any time off of work to be with her husband when he was ill.
As a result of these two experiences, Julie was determined to understand the insurance marketplace in Canada. She learned that most Canadian families are under-insured and are not even aware of the available risk management options. Could Julie’s family have avoided the financial impact of an untimely death? Julie says Yes. “My dad never had a proper life insurance needs analysis to determine the optimal amount. Although there was mortgage insurance, it only paid the balance, which was quite minimal.” Julie hopes that by sharing her personal story she will inspire others to look at their own situations and put risk management tools in place before the option to do so is no longer available. “I always tell clients you can’t just buy life insurance, you must qualify.”
Julie is skilled in Life insurance, Living Benefits Insurance, Retirement Planning, and Group Insurance. The sales professional graduated from Laurentian University with an honours Commerce degree. She also holds a Certified Health Specialist (CHS) designation and is currently working towards her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. She has devoted the last 18 years of her career on supporting, consulting with, and training Financial Advisors.
A solid risk management portfolio during one’s wealth accumulation phase must include life, disability, and critical illness insurance. “Losing both dads fueled my passion to help educate Canadians about the importance of managing risk. Most Canadians don’t fully understand what insurance products are available to them and often believe they can’t afford the needed coverage. But that isn’t true. Today, there are many affordable, bundled solutions.”
Julie is not suggesting clients stop saving for their retirement and just purchase insurance. “But, until people no longer require their pay cheque to survive, it’s important to put the proper protection in place,” the Risk, Insurance, and Estate Planning Specialist adds.
Established in 1990, Financial Horizons Group (FHG) is a Managing General Agent (MGA) with a network of over 30 offices across the country. Julie describes the culture at FHG as an “all hands-on deck” approach. “Our team of 350+ employees, have one goal in mind – to provide world-class service to the financial advisors that choose to partner with us.”
“In my opinion, our team and local branch support is what sets us apart. Our Advisors can rely on us to sift through the vast amount of information and to identify what’s important so that they are free to focus on their business and helping their clients.
And, because we have every insurance carrier on our shelf, approximately 24 different carriers, we are in a position to help our Advisors select the most appropriate solution for their clients. FHG is completely unbiased as to which products Advisors select.”
Although she is licensed to sell, as Business Development Manager at Financial Horizons Group, Julie focuses solely on helping Advisors grow their respective businesses in the Barrie and Sudbury regions. Her responsibilities include recruiting new Advisors, business growth, insurance recommendations, continuity/succession planning, for the Advisors themselves as well as for their wealthy/business owner clients. Solutions often include buy-sell agreements, business succession planning, tax reduction and/or estate planning strategies.
“I love the fact that I get to wear many professional hats – as a business coach, and as an insurance generalist. If requested, I will join an Advisor on sales appointments. My services are free to our Advisors and are an integral part of FHG’s culture of personalized service,” Julie explains. Her clients appreciate this.
One Advisor, Sylvain Côté, of Onelife Wealth Management (North Bay) says, “I’ve worked on and off with Julie for the last 19 years. Her knowledge and professionalism about our business is impeccable. The best thing I like about Julie is the fact that when I ask her a question she ALWAYS answers me with knowledge about that subject. If she doesn’t know the answer, she tells me she doesn’t know the answer and then does research to get me the CORRECT answer. The caring that she displays for me and other advisors is very moving and she really make me feel “at home…”
Up Close & Personal
Julie has a 15-year old son, Trent, who is an avid golfer. Julie shares Trent’s interest in golf and, at least once a week, joins other professional women on the links. In terms of giving back, Julie helps her Advisors support their local communities. She is engaged to Aaron Gareau. A 2020 wedding is planned.
As a final word, Julie says, “My interest in, and passion for risk management and the value of advice, was inspired by the death of my two dads. My Mom raised us to be tough, financially aware and fiscally responsible. Because of her, we were able to build two successful careers – my Mom as a Financial Advisor with TD/Canada Trust, and myself, as an insurance specialist helping Advisors build and manage their practices.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides C
Julie Laferriere H.B.Comm, CHS
Business Development Manager
Financial Horizons Group
705.670.8881 x 1806