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Q&A: Cherian John

Liz DeCarlo

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New regulations in the United Arab Emirates requires change in processes.
Regulation has caused you to change how you sign some clients. Can you explain?
When we have a client signing with a high premium, we have strict compliance checks before accepting the business. The compliance managers verify the fact-find with the proposal, reconfirm with the client and review all of it to make sure it’s done properly. In some cases, the client visits the insurance company offices for this review, and to sign the documents. For high-net-worth insurance cases, we offer VIP treatment for their medical exams by providing a dedicated medical team that visits their home. Sometimes applicants will be chauffeur-driven to the nearest medical center.

New regulations have added to many advisors’ workloads. Have you hired an administrative assistant?
Yes, we have. The advisors do most of their paperwork in front of the client, and the staff helps with documentation, filing, follow-ups and renewals. We use staff to make phone calls to existing clients, but the majority of new appointment calls are made by the advisor. New regulations have increased workloads, but they will improve the compliance, underwriting and customer relationship management systems. A good administrative staff in place will ease the workload and improve office efficiency.

How do you motivate your staff?
We hired a business coach who does a lot of activities out of the office that include employees’ families. The spouses love this! Also, once a year I send the people who help me achieve MDRT to places like Bangkok, Malaysia or Singapore. The staff members are remunerated like the advisors. Chosen staff members get to attend conventions alongside the producers. But money can’t buy everything. Sometimes you just need to tell them, “Good job.”

Cherian Panavila John is an eight-year MDRT member from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Contact him at

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