Group Benefits



Business Emergency PlanI have been in this business since 2002. Before that, I sold to, consulted to, and ran other businesses (big & small). I have always been fortunate enough to understand that I need to have a written emergency plan.

When I owned Marathon, my will clearly stated that my staff would get my business in the event of my abduction by aliens. My staff knew that fact and none of them cut my brake lines (or sent beacons out to alien societies). They also knew the important contacts and where the evidence was buried. They could take over the business with little issue.

With Naviguide, I have a written agreement with a colleague who has been in the group benefit business for as long as I have. He owns his own practice, has employees, and has similar values and advisory style to myself. We even work together on a regular basis to align our systems and procedures.

If I disappear from the planet, he will take over, our clients will be notified and will continue along with no affect to their insurance plans. Eventually, our plan is to merge our businesses. He is 13 years younger than I am so he is likely to be around longer and clearly of less interest to any alien abductors.

I have spent much of my career speaking to people about their exit strategies and buy / sell agreements. I have read and advised on hundreds of buy / sell agreements. I have provided insurance for most of those agreements. Still, literally, 95(ish)% of business owners do not have any such written plan.

I am here to tell you that if you have nothing in writing, if you are no longer around, three things happen:

  1. Your employees lose their jobs.
  2. Your clients end up with no support.
  3. Your family gets nothing for all the hard work you have done. They may even end up with debt.

My bet is this is not the legacy you want.

This week, I heard yet another story of a business that had nothing in writing at the time the founder walked away. Now, that business is dealing with big legal costs.

Really. If you just spend a little money and a little time, right now, your employees, clients & families can avoid huge costs later on and you get control over what happens. Not some nameless court or lawyer. Most of the time, a legal statement can cost under $2,500 and be done quickly. The addition of some wording to my will cost me $250. Insurance is relatively low cost and can fund ownership, reduce taxation and enrich your family or favorite charity and or create a legacy. Speak to an insurance advisor and get some!

If you have no partners, speak to your lawyer about creating a future path document. You get to choose the order of who gets your business. Ie:

  • Spouse gets first right of refusal
  • Children (if they are above the age of majority) get second right
  • Employees get third right
    • In my case, the ownership of the company would have been based on the longevity of the employees. The one who was with me longest got the largest share
  • Who else do you want to have your company if no one else wants it? Do you have any friends in the biz who can take it on????
    • Of course, if the company is moving to anyone other than your spouse, there should be a calculation of how much needs to be paid to your estate, spouse, family, favorite charity, etc.

If you have partners, drop everything and go to your lawyer. I know you have spoken about it. Now go do something about it. I know you are best friends / close family / won Amazing Race Canada together.
All that makes no difference. If one of you gets sick, injured, or like me, abducted by aliens, you will need to conduct business with a spouse, child, parent, friend or lawyer of that person. Whatever you agreed on originally, if not written down, counts for nothing. What happens next is that person usually wants nothing to do with your business other than ½ the money (that you may or may not actually have). In most cases, that is the end of the business and everyone loses their jobs.

This is important. Deal with it. It is possibly more important than making your next sale. It is easier and lower cost than you think.

Please, don’t make me hear another story of a business going through this situation that could have easily prevented issues.

Rant over. Back to our normally scheduled programming.

Jay Nadler, Employee Benefit Specialist.

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