Making a difference in the community

The main purpose of insurance is to provide financial protection and resilience against risk. But for one insurance professional, this is not enough.

After founding insurance advisory Logan Smythe and Associates, Dean Logan (pictured) also used his time and effort to create The Community Mindfulness Project, a community initiative that seeks to provide resilience and mindfulness education to residents of North Canterbury.

Insurance Business spoke with Logan about his insurance career, as well as the work he does in improving mental wellbeing and resilience in the community.

Logan began his insurance career in 1998, after a sudden switch from a career in security systems. Reflecting back, he said: “I was a 20-year-old systems technician, installing and servicing security systems. I don’t know what the motivation was, but I wanted to chance my arm at sales. Next thing I know, I was on a plane heading to Auckland for a two-week training seminar with Combined insurance, a division of Aon at the time.

“Starting out was very different to how we conduct business today – going business to business, from corporate offices, industrial estates to high country farming stations. Calling in and asking to see the manager or top person in charge, presenting supplementary insurance policies.”

The sudden career shift was difficult, but Logan was able to gain vital skills that would help him navigate the industry.

“It was character building but it was cold as a cold call could be,” he said. “However, this installed invaluable learnings and experience in communicating and connecting with people at all levels, learning and mastering the skill of lead generation, new business procurement and building business by obtaining referrals from the approval of others.”

In 2015, Logan was national leadership specialist at ACE Insurance when he decided to establish his own business – Logan Smythe & Associates.

“We identified a common consumer trend, which was attitude towards insuring for personal risk insurance was weighted heavily towards the price not the plan,” Logan said. “This commonly resulted in customers being grossly underinsured, with little consideration of the damaging financial impact of having a plan that didn’t fully meet their current needs or requirements.”

“This was our motivation for setting up Logan Smythe & Associates in 2015. Our focus was to create an advisory business offering a comprehensive and holistic approach to the insurance advice world, empowering and educating our clients to not only create but to understand their financial risk management plan. We are protecting wealth today and tomorrow.”

In 2021, Logan Smythe & Associates was one of the 10 recipients of the AIA Vitality Business and Community Grants for The Community Mindfulness Project, which seeks to improve the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of the North Canterbury community.

“It was a collaborative undertaking by our team at Logan Smythe & Associates, Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust (CWNCT) and Mindfulness North Canterbury,” Logan said. “During the year, we offered a series of formal resilience and mindfulness community courses and workshops. The project also launched a podcast series providing free, practical resources packed full of evidence-based tips and tools to help people feel good and function well.

“The project enabled us to bring a series of world-class, evidence-based wellbeing and mindfulness courses, workshops, and podcasts to North Canterbury. We were proud to be able to make such a difference for the people in our local community.”

Outside of his insurance advisory firm, Logan is currently a board member and trustee of CWNCT, which supports local families to reach their full potential through free wellbeing services, offered across the Waimakariri and Hurunui Districts.

“I recognize the importance of health and wellbeing to a thriving community,” he said. “Mental health, wellbeing and resilience are inextricably linked. Wellbeing is about feeling good and functioning well. Resilience is a process of drawing on resources to sustain wellbeing.”

After more than two decades of work in the insurance industry and the community, Logan – who is also the chairperson of the risk member advisory committee of Financial Advice New Zealand – offered the following advice for newer insurance professionals.

“Knowledge builds confidence,” he said. “Be open minded, learn something new and lean on the expertise of fellow advisers and industry leaders. The relationships we have built and advice we get from our consultants and networks is priceless – it’s been fundamental to the growth and sustainability of our business.

“Start creating your community, join a business network group, connect with like-minded business owners and individuals, think outside of the square, and expand your connections and knowledge base. This will aid you in having a better understanding of potential clients needs and requirements when assisting them to becoming more financially resilient when it comes to human capital risk.”

When he’s not working, Logan likes to “swap out the business suit for a wetsuit” whenever he gets the chance.

“Kaikoura is my playground, where I like to get out with the family and friends to dive, fish and hunt,” he said. “If the ocean isn’t playing ball, then a stroll around the golf course is the next best thing.”

Published on Insurance Business NZ
Read the original article HERE

Community Mindfulness Project Podcast Launch

The Community Mindfulness Project Podcast has arrived!

Hosted by Kate Brandram-Adams of Mindfulness North Canterbury, the series is packed full of tips, tools and cool science to help you boost your wellbeing. Listen now on Podbean, Spotify, Google or Apple Podcasts.

The Community Mindfulness Project is a collaboration between Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust, Mindfulness North Canterbury and Logan Smythe and Associates, bringing free science-based mindfulness and wellbeing courses, workshops and podcasts to North Canterbury. Made possible by AIA Vitality.


Below listen to Kate Brandram-Adams Mindfulness North Canterbury & Dean Logan from Logan and Symthe (and on the board of Community Wellbeing NC Trust) Talk about their Mindfulness Project that releases today.

Digital Signatures Save Time and Money

The COVID-19 lockdown has forced the hand of some financial advisers to adopt systems so clients can sign agreements using their computer, tablet or smartphone.

There are a few options available, from simple ‘accept-and-click’ emails to more comprehensive products that allow for client consultations via video along with real-time sharing of documents.

One advisor who has started using digital signatures to get business done is Bruce Cortesi, the Director of Planwise in Tauranga.

“We have emailed documents to clients that they have signed on their tablets and then sent back,” he says. “Clients seem quite comfortable with it. It will change how we do business going forward – it’s definitely a time saver.”

Meanwhile, Dean Logan, Managing Director and a financial adviser at Logan Smythe in Christchurch, has adopted the VideoSign system (previously known as SuiteBox).

A sudden event such as COVID-19 forces change…

He says while he and his team of four financial advisers already knew of the cloud-based app, there hadn’t been a compelling reason to use it – until COVID-19 came along.

“A sudden event such as the lockdown forces change,” he says. “You either stand there not doing anything, or you embrace change and find a way through it.

“Ironically, when we had our annual review at the start of the year we discussed using more technology and working to become more efficient – so as soon as we went into lockdown we already had an idea as to what to do next.”

Logan and his team have three steps before changing company processes:

  1. Fully understand the advice process
  2. Establish where any new technology fits into that process
  3. Practice makes perfect

He says some people make the mistake of trying to make a tool fit their advice process rather than the process fit the tool.

Even though some clients say they are not very tech-savvy, they have been great…

“And then you risk losing what you are trying to achieve,” he says. “Whenever I see a new tool in the market that appears to be more efficient, I have to understand the whole process, because it doesn’t do the work for you. But if you understand the tool you will become more efficient.”

Logan’s team experimented with the VideoSign system on each other so they fully understood how it worked – before asking their clients to use it.

“That means staff training and repetition,” he says. “And that’s what we have done with our team – from day one of the lockdown we scheduled training. And we have done so many practices with each other using these tools that we are efficient when we engage with the client.”

Dean Logan, a director and financial adviser at Logan Smythe in Christchurch,
Dean Logan, Managing Director and a financial adviser at Logan Smythe, Christchurch.
Logan says clients are happy to use the system, particularly under lockdown, and also appreciate the time-saving benefits it offers.

“Even though some clients say they are not very tech-savvy, they have been great and embraced it,” says Logan.

There is a little bit of hand-holding though, he says. That means advisers will speak with clients on the phone to check what device they have, then the adviser will send a meeting invite via email to set up a test or trial run with them. Once any technical issues are ironed out then a formal meeting is scheduled between the adviser and client.

“During the meeting we are chatting face-to-face, like a Skype meeting, and sharing documents on screen,” says Logan. “Clients can sign the document with their mouse while you watch. There is a finalisation process, a screen photo is taken, and that is date stamped. It is legally-binding.”

Logan says the system is convenient and time-saving for everyone.

“We won’t need to drive for an hour to see a client once lockdown ends – and it saves our clients lots of time too. Everyone’s busy these days, this is just so efficient.”

Published on Risk Info NZ
Read the original article HERE

How should advisers analyse their business during this pandemic?

With the nation in lockdown, insurance advisers will be looking to analyse and adapt their business strategies over the coming weeks – and, according to one adviser, a particularly useful exercise to follow is the SWOT analysis.

SWOT takes stock of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business, and uses those insights to develop a strategy. Dean Logan, managing director at Christchurch-based brokerage Logan Smythe & Associates says doing an analysis amid the current pandemic is undoubtedly challenging, but it can also yield some helpful insights around what to focus on as we navigate this uncharted territory.

“We need data to come up with an analysis and a sustainability plan, and when it comes to a SWOT analysis, the main threat now is COVID-19,” Logan explained.

“The main weakness is that we don’t have a crystal ball, so the question is – where are the timeframes, and what are the goalposts?”

“We’re in a position now where we can use real-time information to quickly forecast a plan,” he continued. “But in saying that, we would normally have a start and end date, and we would know the influencing factors and the interruptions that can have an impact.

“What we’ve done as a company is looked at the information around us, and what we do know. We know that when the lockdown ends, recovery will come.”

Logan says that the lockdown may last only four weeks as planned – however, we may just as likely be looking at six to eight weeks, and so planning ahead for a decent period of time is a must. He says that if the lockdown is ultimately successful, the economy will rebound – and advisers need to be prepared.

“The key thing for us is that we’ve got to be there, and we’ve got to supply throughout the current period,” Logan said. “It’s all about sustainability and preservation.”

“In terms of the opportunity, for us that’s continued professional development, learning and education,” he continued.

“But the main focus is on strengths, and that comes down to communication. As financial advisers, we have the ability to communicate with our community, clients and colleagues, and form camaraderie.”

“We need to stay in our bubble, but when it comes to communication, we’re all in the same bubble, he concluded. “There is no template or historical data with what we’re going through, so we need to all communicate together and go through our plans.”

by Ksenia Stepanova
Read the original article HERE

LSA wins AIA Vitality Community Grant

Exciting News!

We’ve won an AIA Vitality Community Grant – one of only ten awarded across all of NZ!

In collaboration with Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust and Mindfulness North Canterbury the grant means we can offer free science-based mindfulness and wellbeing courses, workshops and podcasts to North Canterbury. We’re calling it “THE COMMUNITY MINDFULNESS PROJECT”.

We’ll run a series of shorter workshops, longer courses and podcasts aimed at improving mental, emotional and physical wellbeing and building a resilient North Canterbury community.

If you live in Hurunui or Waimakariri, you’ll be able to apply to attend Community Mindfulness Project courses and workshops for FREE.

The first two FREE courses/workshops: Building Resilience and Mindfulness Self Compassion are now open for registration for Hurunui residents. Secure your place today by following the links below in comments and look out for updates on The Community Mindfulness Project courses/workshops and podcasts in the coming months.

To see the winners and to find out more about Logan Smythe & Associates contribution to the project, please click HERE.

LSA Live on Compass FM

Live today at 3.30pm

Looking forward to going Live 3:30pm today on Compass FM to talk about our exciting collaboration “The Community Mindfulness Project” – a collaboration between Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust, Mindfulness North Canterbury and Logan Smythe and Associates to offer free mindfulness courses, workshops, and podcasts to North Canterbury, made possible by AIA Vitality.

Compass FM Friday 5th Feb at 3.30pm.

Fees For Advice Raised At Bounce Conference

Billing clients for advice is a hot topic across the insurance industry.

Jared Campbell, a senior adviser at the firm (which doesn’t advise on life insurance) was part of a panel discussion at a Financial Advice NZ Bounce conference last month and said the company focuses on providing advice rather than products.

“The business is mirrored on what accountants do – and that’s charge for advice,” he told a live Dunedin and online audience on 24 September. “We charge for financial plans, and we run a good profitable business by doing so.

Jared Campbell, a senior financial adviser at PH Wealth
Jared Campbell, a senior financial adviser at PH Wealth, charges clients for financial advice.
“When it comes to getting the culture right, all our staff are on salaries, no one is incentivised by commission.

“That salary option is really nice, because when I walked in the door on day one I didn’t feel as though I needed to start selling. I could take my time and learn the ropes and get into that advice space – it was great for my career.

“I do feel for those who have to walk in and start selling to eat next week.”

The firm encourages good staff performance by using what Campbell calls ‘leading indicators’.

“That means we measure activity, what the advisers are doing, and that might lead to getting a new client, verses how many prospects they met with last month,” he said.

I do feel for those who have to walk in and start selling to eat next week…

For example, the firm’s staff are encouraged to develop contacts who will recommend their services to clients.

“I might not have met with any prospects last month, but I might have had four coffee dates with lawyers around town, or gone to some social event that might lead toward getting those referrals,” said Campbell.

Fellow panelist Dean Logan of Christchurch-based Logan Smythe & Associates has worked in the insurance industry since the 90s. He said both commission-based sales or billing for advice can work well.

“Both structures can suit different business,” he said. “As long as the mindset is right with giving advice, and the culture is right within the business, then I think any structure works.

“To me, whether it be salary or whether it be commission, it shouldn’t change, or cause a difference, within the advice space.”

Logan said the key is to connect with clients, understand what risks they have and then help them understand the risks.

“It’s a journey of discovery,” he said. “So we know what their requirements are before we give them any solution.”

Published on Risk Info NZ
Read the original article HERE

Financial Advice New Zealand 2020 Bounce Conference

Reflecting back on a 4 day conference - Outstanding!

It was a pleasure to facilitate a Powerhouse Panel. Many thanks to:

  • Colin Mansbridge | Crusaders
  • Paul Donaldson | Pegasus Bay Winery, Vineyard and Events
  • Charlotte Walshe | Jade Software Corporation

So many key ideas to review and implement for business success.