The one thing I would change is adding moreregulation to the insurance industry,specifically pertaining to the sale of index life or index annuityproducts,” says Brenden Barkate, senior vice president of ExclusiveInsurance Brokerage.


Why would anyone want more regulation? For starters, it couldimprove the industry’s reputation and public image.


According to Barkate, that's just one of the opportunitieswithin the industry. He also told LifeHealthPro about how hisgeneration — millennials — should be more involved in theindustry because most of those who are already part of it are agingor retiring.


We sat down with Barkate to find out what he is doing to improvethe industry’s reputation, what opportunities he sees ahead, andwhat millennials really want in an advisor.

LHP: Why did you choose a career in insurance or financialservices?

BB: I was playing football at the University of Redlandsand my head coach brought me into his office. I wasn’t exactly surewhat the circumstances were and, quite frankly, assumed I was introuble.


He told me that a successful alumni was starting an insurancebrokerage and that he specifically asked for me. I asked mydad, who has been in the financial planning business for 30+ years,and he said it would be a great start to learn the business insideand out. I knew my father was very successful in what he did, and Iwanted to pursue that same level of success.


LHP: Describe what you do.

BB: I help financial planners, CPAs and attorneysbrainstorm and find solutions to financial concerns they are facingwith either their personal needs, estates, orbusinesses. Whether it is creating an estate plan, atax-mitigation technique for a business owner, or simplyimplementing some insurance solutions for an individual; every daycan be a little bit different.

LHP: Share an achievement you are especially proud of.

BB: I came into the business with nothing. I was given acomputer, phone, and a desk in a bullpen. I was one of two peoplewho started the company. Today, I am a Senior VP at one of thelargest insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the UnitedStates. Two years ago, I assisted an advisor in closing one of thelargest life insurance policies ever sold. I thought that waspretty neat.

LHP: What is the biggest challenge that you see in the industryor what is the one thing you would change?

BB: The one thing I would change is adding more regulationto the insurance industry, specifically pertaining to the sale ofindex life or index annuity products. I oftentimes come acrossadvisors who have a life license they obtained in 52 hours. Thefollowing week, they are persuading clients into products they knowrelatively nothing about. These insurance products arephenomenal solutions for certain clients and I hate to see themsold incorrectly or abused, as it gives a black eye to ourindustry.

LHP: What is the biggest opportunity that you see in theindustry?

BB: I go to insurance conferences, meetings, productpanels, etc. and oftentimes I am the youngest person in the room by20+ years. The average financial planner is aging and there isplenty of room for young professionals to come into the insuranceindustry and make a difference in people’s lives. Theinsurance industry has been around for 100+ years and is not goinganywhere soon.

LHP: What do you think millennials are looking for in aninsurance advisor? How can advisors best serve this market?

BB: With access to Google, I think millennials are lookingfor transparency in a financial advisor. With information readilyavailable at your fingertips, no longer can financial advisorsdance around the facts. Advisors need to approachmillennials as extremely bright, andpresent solutions with all the facts — even if some are not whatthe client wants to hear.

LHP: What is the No. 1 piece of advice you would give to ayoung person looking to enter this industry?

BB: While there is plenty of opportunity inside thisindustry to start your own business, there is no shortcut for hardwork. There is no “manual” for starting an insurance practice,per se. You need to find a part of this industry that youcare about and devote yourself to that cause. If you can do thatand aren’t afraid to fail, then you won’t be anything butsuccessful.


Editor's Note: This interview originally published inSeptember 2015 as part of LifeHealthPro'slist, 30under 30: Meet the millennials who are transforming theindustry. Dates and other data points have remainedunchanged from the original piece.

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