This week, we catch up with Paul Crossdale of benefitsConnect. To learn more about Paul and his firm, visit his firm’s website.
Q: The future of our Industry?
I truly believe we are at a crossroads in our industry. Consolidators will continue to buy firms at a dizzying rate but do they really bring any type of value proposition to their clients? We are not bringing in enough young minds and our experienced advisors will soon be leaving the business. As firms, we are simply pushing products. As an industry, we are not moving quickly enough to embrace technology. Are we really providing the services and products our clients need to compete for the best talent in an “everywhere work environment, not simply work from home environment?”
I do believe our industry will change more in the next 5 years than in the last 30 years I have been in the business. Technology will enhance the employer and employee experience. You can’t walk down to HR and ask about your EAP program at 2:00 AM on Saturday night when you’re having an issue. You can look at your phone and find that information easily in your library on your benefitsConnect app. We will provide employees with products and services they want through all channels Insurance Companies and Banks. Firms will start reaching out to younger talent to keep our industry alive. Lastly, we as advisors will change because we have to. The shift in employers asking for improved integrated technology, non-traditional products/services, and smartphone communication for their employees is here to stay! In order to break new ground in our industry, you’ll need to” adapt or die.” I am betting on all of us to succeed.
Q: What makes benefitsConnect different?
benefitsConnect is not your old school consulting firm. Our goal is to become a “new” type of firm that caters to what older and younger employees will need in the future. We want to connect people to benefits whether they are traditional (benefits/savings plans) and provide employees coverages such as Pet Insurance, Mortgages, Home & Auto, Virtual Care, Medical Cannabis and so much more. Our Administration Portal OS enables an Administrator to make “real-time” changes that an employee can see on our benefitsConnect app, immediately. In addition, if you want to easily onboard your employees, make vacation requests, or see your benefits booklet all in one spot we’ve got you covered. This integrated process enhances the way we do business and employees receive their communication in a fast, easy and convenient manner.
Q: How has your membership with The Benefits Alliance Group impacted your business?
Our firm is a charter member of Benefits Alliance, I have been a past Board Member, sit on a committee, and am a member now with our group. I think being a member might be the most important position anyone can hold but you need to get involved. Being able to sit around the table with so many different-sized firms and varying experience levels enables me to bring what I have learned back into our practice. Over the years it has helped us tremendously in our growth. Whether it’s old or new relationships, the bond between the group members is very strong and everyone is always willing to share. You can’t get this experience anywhere else!
Q: Where does benefitsConnect operate?
We work primarily in the Toronto, Greater Toronto Area, Kingston, Bellville, and Cornwall area. We have clients across Canada and into the US. Currently, we have an office in Toronto and Kingston.
Q: How did you come into the industry?
I attended the University of Western and my roommate went to an interview with London Life, Employee Benefits Division. We had both applied to Teacher’s College. He passed my name onto the Regional Manager, John Gordon. I went to my first interview with John and he thought I was perfect for the position, after about 6-7 interviews with different people I was offered the position of Group Representative. I could understand their hesitation, as I was the first gold hoop-wearing, black person with high-top fade haircut they had ever interviewed. I am thankful they hired me. Most of the questions came around my earning and wearing it to work. Lol!
Q: Something interesting people might not know about me?
I love working with young people? It seems to keep me young at heart and forward-thinking about life, I guess. I coach hockey (ages 13-15), I just did some work with the Quest School in Toronto (grade 7-8), and have spoken often to Universities Students across the province. My father used to say “ you can give your time or you can give your money” when trying to help others. Time is always more valuable. Young people continually impress me with their fearlessness and ideas on changing the world. I think, at times, our industry lacks the ability to imagine. We could use that injection of youthful bravado! I try to bring that ability to dream into our business, every day.
The Benefits Alliance Member Spotlight Series showcases providing unique benefits solutions, group retirement and more to Canadian businesses.