by Angus MacCaull

“It’s a different mindset than the general side,” says Lesa Kehoe. After twenty-one years working with car and home insurance, Lesa has recently moved over to deal with RRSPs and other savings plans. And she’s a newly licensed life broker as well. In short, she’s becoming a financial advisor.

We have financial advisors paired with our offices around the province. Some, like Bill Hull in Antigonish, are familiar faces. Others, like Wendy Brookhouse in Hammonds Plains, are newer to the TeAAM.

Many financial advisors are registered as a private business. They place policies from different insurance companies through different Managing General Agents. It’s similar to the way that every doctor in the province is registered as a private business and bills the government or the patient or a third party depending on local agreements about who should cover costs.

Our financial services division, AAM Financial, is a Managing General Agent for Industrial Alliance. Our advisors from the western end of the province meet quarterly in Dartmouth Crossing. Advisors on the eastern end meet quarterly in Sydney. All policies placed with AAM Financial are ultimately processed through Lesa.

We are known around Nova Scotia for great car and home insurance. People renting and students in dorms turn to us for tenants insurance. Nova Scotians know that we have some of the best rates for motorcycles and boats and businesses. We are insurance experts for property and casualty.

But AA himself—my grandfather Alcorn that is—actually started out as a life broker. He’d gotten into med school at Dalhousie, then realized that he couldn’t stand the sight of blood. So back in the 1940s, he began traveling around Cape Breton offering life insurance. He had a suit and a smile and my grandmother Miriam answering the phone at home. He was an early financial advisor before financial services became a buzzword in the 1990s.

Our focus on developing AAM Financial, with events like the Golden Oar Challenge, is really a return to our roots. It’s an exciting time. Though the service relationship is different, there’s great potential when general brokers and financial advisors work together. Money saved on car insurance, for example, can go into a registered savings plan for a child’s education—sometimes with matching funds from the government.

“It does absolutely take the right mix of people,” says Lesa. She laughs and looks over her glasses. “And I’ve got all kinds of crazy ideas!”