I recently met Michael Seabolt through a LinkedIn insurance professionals' group. As I am an agent who works directly with clients, I thought it would be interesting to give you some insights from the perspective of someone who works behind the scenes with agents and financial advisors.
Michael Seabolt is currently the managing member of Flower Risk Advisors, LLC, a cannabis industry focused tax and risk mitigation consultancy. In this role, Michael consults with cannabis business owners and executives, and their tax and legal advisors, providing risk and tax management solutions for the legal cannabis and hemp industries.
Michael also is a contracted consultant with Bell & Associates Consulting, LLC is Phoenix, AZ which is an independent insurance brokerage firm representing over 70 of the largest life insurance and annuity carriers. In this capacity, Michael consults with financial intermediaries (financial advisors, insurance agents, tax and legal advisors) to provide tax mitigation and risk protection solutions for their business owner and high net worth clients.
Michael has over 25 years of professional experience in the financial services industry, primary in wholesale distribution of managed money, investment advisory and insurance space. His experience includes VP of sales and business development for an international asset and wealth management firm. In this role Michael developed relationships with financial advisors, family offices, insurance and trust companies and private banks to broaden product offerings for their institutional and high net worth clients.
Previously, Michael spent nine years with a London based hedge fund and wealth management firm. The position involved extensive international travel with offices in London, Hong Kong, Nassau and Switzerland. His responsibilities here included private client meetings, conference presentations, panel board advisory and executive level relationship management.
In his free time, Michael enjoys spending time with his three children. You can find them on the ski slopes in the wintertime and the golf course in the summer.
With an impressive resume like this, you can understand why I wanted to discuss with him how his part of the insurance industry works.
Thanks for taking the time to talk today. You have an very interesting background, but I'm curious as to how you got into the insurance industry.
I've been in the financial services industry for 25 years, the last 9 of which have been in the insurance industry. I spent 5 years with Allianz, one of the world's largest insurance companies, covering US broker-dealer distribution. I've had my private consulting practice for the last 4 years, focusing on utilizing life insurance for tax and risk mitigation.
How do you find your prospects?
My clients are insurance agents, financial advisors, CPA's and attorneys. I help them with their largest clients and most complex needs.
How do you prepare for a client meeting?
I perform stringent due diligence on the financial professional with the goal of understanding their practice so I can be most effective in our meeting.
We met through LinkedIn. Have you had much success with it?
LinkedIn is a good medium for connecting with colleagues in the industry.
I agree. I think too many people avoid networking within their own industry sometimes because some of those people are competitors, but I've gotten some great sales tips and advice.
Not counting my book, do you recommend any good books on sales?
"Tax Free Retirement" by Patrick Kelly and "The Power of Zero" by David McKnight.
I also enjoy Patrick Kelly's books. He has some good videos on YouTube as well. That leads to my next question. Do you have a mentor? How have you become a mentor for others?
I have been fortunate enough to have had several mentors and sources of influence in my career. I enjoy "paying that forward" and train agents and advisors on how to optimize their practice and gain traction in the business owner and High Net Worth client channel.
Has Covid affected your practice?
I have been unaffected personally from the pandemic, however my practice has flourished. Mortality risk has become front and center in our daily lives and clients appreciate the benefits of life insurance and long term care protection. The massive Federal debt spending which injected capital into our financial systems will lead to significantly higher taxes in the future. We need to educate and empower our clients today to protect themselves for this coming tax risk.
I agree. Sooner or later we're going to have to pay the bill. On a related note, what did you do with your first commission check?
1999 Chateau Haut Brion and aged petit filet.
That is great! That must have been one nice commission check. Last question, have you ever had a strange or unusual encounter with a client?
I am fortunate to have engaging conversations on a daily basis. I will share a story of a client whom passed away last year from Covid after recently purchasing a life policy from us. I felt blessed to be able to deliver a ix-figure death benefit claim check to his surviving spouse. There are fewer more fulfilling moments in our industry.
When it comes down to our business, that is what we do. Thanks for your time! I am sure our readers appreciate this information as well.
Michael can be reached through is website at www.consultbell.com
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient, and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!