April 29, 2009

The 100th Post Already?

The 100th post! Can it be? Time flies. Over two years.

Why Start?
I started blogging to help the public understand their financial risks and ways to tame them. There is very little content like that online --- the first place many look. Where do you send your clients?

As a product actuary, my expertise was individual life insurance and health insurance from design to pricing to reinsurance to illustrations to marketing to administration to support. This unique background spurred me to start Riscario Insider.  The 100th post was in January 2009.

Why This?
Except for the fellow getting divorced, advisors want to increase their revenue. This requires ideas, insights and best practices. I come across them continuously --- a side benefit of working with some of the country's top advisors and lots of reading. But how to share what I'm learning? Through this blog for advisors, including insurance specialists, investment advisors, accountants and lawyers. You'll find a fresh post most weeks. 

Why Continue?
Writing takes time. Each post takes several hours of drafting and editing. Even finding the right photo or graphic takes time. So why not quit?

My altruistic motive remains: helping people. What you don't share, dies. I keep learning and refining what I've learned. I've got to tell those who want to listen.  Blogging allows free access anytime from anywhere. 

My selfish purpose is improving myself. You learn better when tell others. Writing imposes further discipline because you're not present to clarify. Your words must be clear. Your message must be interesting. Little things like headlines make a difference. 

Practice helps you push through the dip on the hill to mastery.

What's Next?
The future will have more of the same. For faster access to tips, you can subscribe to @mActuary on Twitter. I've thought of adding audio podcasts (a new feature on Riscario Insider). Video is a remote possibility but that's a tough medium for me. What would you like to see?

How You Win
Between this blog and Riscario Insider, you've got access to 216 posts with more on the way. Scan through them and you'll find some that you can use with your clients or centres of influence. 

You can even copy/paste selected content to make it look like your own. Just don't "borrow" everything!

You may even find content that helps you. 


April 21, 2009

I'm The Me: Where is Your Google Profile?

... from time to time many of us have searched on Google for our name or someone else's. When searching for yourself to see what others would find, results can be varied and aren't always what you want people to see.
--- The Official Google Blog | April 21, 2009

Help Google find you. Then Google will help others find you. That's the principle of reciprocity in action. That's more business and happier clients for you. 

Here's a nifty free way to get found. I forgot until I got a reminder on Twitter today from the unofficial Google Operating System blog. You'll find instructions there.

The Error Of Omission
The more information you provide, the easier it will be for friends to find you.
--- Google 
We like to think we're unique, but others may share your name. They may show up higher in search rankings. They may get contacted by people looking for you. That's no good. Your profile will help you get found but only if you put meaningful, unique information there. 

Your Photo
You've got to post a photo. A nice one. This is essential for others to recognize you. For branding, you'll want to use the same photo on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

My page is www.google.com/profiles/promodcares. Creating it was quite simple. I'll make refinements over time.

Your Privacy
You decide what to include in your Google Profile. You decide to make your profile public --- which is the whole point. There's already information about you online. Here's your chance to author your story your way.


April 16, 2009

Three YouTube Videos about Life Insurance

Do you realize that you can find insurance-related videos on YouTube? You'll find three examples in this post. If you don't see any videos, you're probably in a corporate environment that's restricting your access. Try from home or another location.

Facts of Life and Annuities
This video comes from life insurance research organization LIMRA. Although the figures are for the United States, the content has broader appeal. Your clients probably don't understand the important role that life insurance plays in the economy.

CityTV: Life Insurance in Canada
This video comes from television news.

Contrary to the video, the protection from Assuris for failed life insurers extends beyond $200,000. Here is a link.

Life and Death Insurance
On the lighter side, here's a "commercial" from This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Staying Current
You can send links to clients. Click on the video. You'll go to YouTube.com and see different options.

If you have an account on YouTube, you can subscribe to channels with videos you like and save videos as your faves. For an example, visit youtube.com/riscario. You can leave comments about videos. You can broadcast your own creations too. 

April 8, 2009


The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen. 
--- Barack Obama, Oct 2008

The President isn't The Boss?

I spent months listening to satellite radio and stopped shortly after Sirius merged with XM. Despite the vast choice, I listened mainly to comedy and Bruce Springsteen. E Street Radio played three live concerts each day. I listened to portions of dozens. This gave me an opportunity to enjoy and spot five presentation tips for use in the business world:
  1. Connect
  2. Surprise
  3. Care
  4. Share
  5. Familiarity breeds openness

We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school. --- Bruce
Since followers are volunteers, they can leave forever anytime they want. But Bruce connects with them. His words are easy to follow, meaningful, visual and memorable. And generally optimistic. His performances are energetic and heartfelt.

Lesson for presenters: Speak simply. Make your points clear and memorable. Complexity overwhelms, especially for intangible offerings like financial services. Entertain.


I'm in search of how to take the stuff I've written and make sure the audience hears it fresh again.  --- Bruce
Bruce has gone through many changes over the decades. That draws an audience. Each tour is different. Each performance is different. His stories work well and are the highlights of his concerts.

With Bruce, you can't tell what you're going to get. He changes his playlists. He changes the way he plays. Take Born To Run. In some tours, it's played early in the set and other times later (last night: the final song before the six song encore). The energy level varies. The speed varies. His voice varies. Each performance is unique. The size and enthusiasm of the audience also has an effect.

Lesson for presenters: For various reasons, an attendee may not be ready to act following your presentation. Interest them enough that they want to return. They'll expect a rerun but you can surprise them with changes.

You can easily see/hear that Bruce cares for his audience. His audience reciprocates (the first universal principle of influence). This is rare over a career that's spanned over 40 years. Little Steven explained that in the 1980s, a record could sell 20 million copies. Now 3-4 million is considered exceptional. Yet the E Street Band is more popular than ever. On the Magic tour, they set box office records in place after place in Europe.

Lesson for presenters: A great presentation creates great "word of mouth". You're remarkable, not mainstream. Previous attendees feel like returning and inviting others. You are referable.

Bruce donates his time to support causes such as food banks and encouraging people to vote. Is this sincere? When donating, do the reasons matter? In 1988, I saw Bruce headlining the Amnesty International tour to celebrate the 40 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A long history of helping others suggests sincerity.

Lesson for presenters: Supporting worthy causes shows you care about more than yourself. You overcome cynicism about your motives through consistency and time. 

Familiarity Breeds Openness
As you get to like someone, you're more open to them. Listening to Bruce most days for months, I became fond of songs I didn't initially appreciate: much of Nebraska (1982) or the more recent Devils & Dust (2005). Bruce's live performances helped because you could tell the songs mattered to him. 

Lesson for presenters: Once you're accepted, over time your less appealing ideas can get accepted too. Since acceptance takes time, ongoing contact helps.

Since Bruce Springsteen is a different type of presenter, we can benefit too --- without being the President or The Boss. Do you agree or am I just dancing in the dark?