With many insurance companies looking for new ways to distribute their products, industry experts say the CPA channel is drawing a great deal of attention.
Mass Mutual Financial Group, Springfield, Mass., recently announced it formed a strategic alliance with RSM McGladrey, Inc., a business consulting, accounting, and tax firm located in Bloomington, Minn. RSM McGladrey serves clients from over 100 offices nationwide, dealing with mid-sized businesses and their owners, according to Connie Smith Benning, communications director for RSM McGladrey.
As part of the venture, Mass Mutual joins two other carriers in the alliance, National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, Vt., and Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newport Beach, Calif.
“Mass Mutual has been dealing with accountants for a very long time,” says Philip Stevens, vice president of institutional distribution for Mass Mutual. “They’ve always been a good source for referrals, and excellent partners in planning,” he says.
Stevens feels that many CPAs would like to expand their practice beyond the typical accounting services to other types of financial services, including life insurance.
RSM McGladrey’s goal with the alliance is to provide its clients with a full menu of services that meets all their financial needs, says Benning.
Stevens notes that while working with CPAs is nothing new to Mass Mutual, the arrangement with RSM McGladrey was a way of formalizing access to the firm’s clients, as well as many more CPAs in a national alliance.
All three carriers are making their products available to a network of agents who are designated to work with the RSM McGladrey partners.
These agents are not RSM employees, but are independent agents who may or may not have had relationships with the three carriers involved, says Ann Dehner, vice president of marketing operations for National Life.
While the agents in the network may either be independent or affiliated with any of the carriers, the agents Mass Mutual is selecting to participate are among its top producers, says Stevens.
“RSM has to feel good about the agent and the individual offices have to feel good about our people–that’s why we’ve made this available to our top tier,” says Stevens.
“There’s a pretty extensive due diligence done when appointing agents to work with the RSM McGladrey group,” adds Mike Pinkans, vice president of sales and promotion for National Life.