We talked to Igor de Brito of Planning4Life on leveraging financial odds and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Igor de Brito: We’re doing great! There were obviously significant changes to our family schedules and dynamics, but as a strong united family we are, we overcame all of it in a very positive and productive way, always staying healthy and with a positive mindset.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Planning4Life.
Igor de Brito: My career started many years ago as a unit manager in MetLife, having been at one point the 6th main broker in the world regarding life insurance. After I created an independent insurance broker, I was also the number 1 in some multinational companies and within several products, such as Keyman Protection. My path has more than 10.000 meetings and 200M€ of customer’s protected risks. More recently, in 2018, I became a member of MDRT – The Premier Association of Financial Professionals, being this one important milestone for me as a professional!
All this experience in the sector has provided me strong know-how and insights that led me to where I am today – I became aware of not only a faulty knowledge regarding personal finances but also regarding the urgent need for brokers and financial professionals to digitalize their businesses, so they don’t lose space in the market.
How does Planning4Life innovate?
Igor de Brito: Our company innovates by bringing people the reality of personal finances – it’s simpler than most of us think they are!
I actually think our main innovation is the type of approach we have for everything we do: Our ultimate goal is to decrease as much as possible the economic and social gap we currently witness all around the world. We do that by giving everyone the same opportunities, knowledge, and tools, making it possible for everyone to have a plan for whatever they need – insurance, savings, and so on.
We want to empower all of our partners, whether professionals or final consumers. For the first ones, we are developing a powerful platform for all brokers and financial professionals, so they can have a relevant and significant digital presence, making it possible for them to catch up on this digital transformation era that all businesses are facing. For the second one, we are developing an app that makes it possible for every common person to have all their finances organized and structured in one place. This is a two-way solution, actually, since we’re linking customers to their brokers or financial professionals also through this channel, which makes it a lot simpler for both parties. The bottom line here is, through Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, we will simplify the way everyone “sees” and handles money.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Igor de Brito: Actually, for us, this pandemic had a positive outcome. With the lockdown being established all around the world, we could see a change in consumer behavior. The digital transition gained massive power during these times. People are inevitably doing as much as possible online, which allows all businesses such as ours to gain a brighter spotlight in people’s day-to-day lives.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Igor de Brito: At the stage, we were and are currently, there were no significant choices to be made besides doing better budget management. We’re very happy with what we have achieved so far and very excited about what’s to come next! One thing I would like to emphasize is that we have a very strong, client-orientated team that faced all these changes always with a smile on their faces, and we’re never afraid to work hard and give their absolute best in every project.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Igor de Brito: Stress and anxiety are related to the way we face both of them. I think it’s a matter of choice. As for me personally, when I’m in one of those moods, I’m the most productive and have the best ideas. My performance clearly steps up the game when under pressure.
As for anxiety, I think that is being used to work or even live outside your comfort zone brings you the power-of-will to overcome it. Since I’ve been living outside my comfort zone for several years now, I got used to failing and coping with that failure. When you found a Startup, failure is always peeking on the corner, and for me, that actually helps improve my work!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Igor de Brito: Our competitors are, at this stage, some of the big players in the business. Companies such as banks, insurance companies, Amazon, Alibaba, Google, Apple, and so on, are investing not only in creating payment methods but also in creating some insurance products. As for us, we differentiate from all competition by focusing on the consumer’s experience and on doing the most advanced personalization of each service we provide to our clients. So, instead of acting as a generic service provider, we will personalize to the last detail each service using a combined strategy – PHYGITAL. This consists of a hybrid model, combining Human and Machine interaction.
Your final thoughts?
Igor de Brito: My dream and mission are to eradicate financial illiteracy. So, our goal is to close this social-economic gap we currently experience all around the world. The path to that goal must be crossed by educating and giving our partners and customers advanced and optimized tools, such as financial and personal trainers (physical or digital). This will inevitably increase the living standard for everyone since every person will be able to have a fairer start when it comes to personal finances.
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