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NAIFA Supports Life Insurance Awareness Month

MassMutual Tri State in Iselin, New Jersey, has become a Financial Security Guardian. 

NAIFA’s Financial Security Guardian agencies participate in NAIFA as a group and encourage their advisors to become NAIFA members. As NAIFA members, MassMutual Tri State advisors subscribe to NAIFA’s Code of Ethics and participate in NAIFA-New Jersey events, as well as NAIFA’s annual Congressional Conference. They contribute to NAIFA’s powerful advocacy voice in New Jersey and at the federal level. MassMutual Tri State advisors will also enjoy all the other benefits of membership, including professional development programming.

About the President

Bellaria Jimenez, CFP, MBA, is the President of MassMutual Tri State. Jimenez began her career in insurance and financial services while in college. Her father, an entrepreneur, had financial trouble due to poor advice. Seeing this, Jimenez wanted the chance to manage her own future and knew that financial literacy was the first step. She recognized the need for financial education in her community. “I really wanted to make a difference in the entrepreneurial community” she begins. “Especially Latin Americans that didn't really have access to the right information and resources.”

Jimenez strives every day to educate and guide her clients through their own financial journeys. “The most exciting part is helping people,” she says. “Being able to see the excitement that comes from knowing that they can accomplish their goals by having a strategy in place.” Jimenez recalls her first client, a business owner and close friend. His earnings were modest, but he took Jimenez’s advice to save a little money every month and pay himself first. Still a decade away from retirement, he has been able to buy a home and now has over $1 million in his 401(k) account. 

Jimenez first learned about NAIFA from MassMutual and when representatives from NAIFA-NY came to her office to talk about the importance of being a member. With NAIFA’s continuing education courses, Jimenez was able to transition from working primarily with investments to becoming a Certified Financial Planner.

What Makes NAIFA Special

Through her involvement with NAIFA, Jimenez has learned even more about the importance of insurance in the financial planning process. She appreciates having a community dedicated to a deep belief in the protection aspect of a financial plan. Many advisors avoid talking about insurance because of its complexity. “The process of underwriting is complicated,” she begins. “But, at the end of the day, that's why it's so important to talk to clients and help them through the process—because it's not easy.”

Becoming a NAIFA member motivated Jimenez to engage with NAIFA's political advocacy. “The awareness and advocacy training I've received from NAIFA has really made me understand why it's so important to get involved, to have a voice at the table, and how important just one little voice is,” she says.

Jimenez also talks about NAIFA’s legacy as an advocate organization. “It is incredible how much impact NAIFA has had in the history of our profession and how involved and caring they are to make sure that our voices are heard,” she says. “Everything from the national all the way down to our local presence is so important.” 

With ever-changing regulations and ever-evolving technology, Jimenez says it’s more important than ever to get involved in political advocacy. “What we have to realize is that our advocacy is not only about advocating for us as advisors or representatives in the business, but it's also for clients that really need our voice and our expertise,” she says. 

A Team-Based Model

Formerly known as MetLife Solutions Group, Jimenez’s agency became MassMutual Tri State in 2016. It has 125 financial professionals and an additional 50 private brokers who do business through them. As an agency, MassMutual Tri State tends to work with business owners and baby boomers, who make up a large portion of their New Jersey community. However, the organization is structured with several teams, each with their own specialty. 

Jimenez describes the benefits of her agency’s team-centered model. “The key to our business and what's so unique about us is that we are a team-based organization,” she says. “Our business is complicated and there are so many different aspects of our business that we cannot possibly become an expert in, so this is a really important part of our culture.” The agency’s structure allows each team to focus on its specific clientele, with every decision focused on simplifying their clients’ lives.

MassMutual Tri State’s focus is on ensuring the agents have the tools they need to succeed. “Our true client is the advisor, and not the client themselves, because the advisors service so many different clients, so many walks of life,” she explains. “That's become simpler for us, to provide the right support for each advisor team and the communities that they serve.”

When recruiting new advisors, Jimenez looks for the right personality. In a people-oriented industry, it’s important for her to find someone who will put their client first. "This is a business about people, relationships, and being able to interact with clients,” she says. “Skills and technical abilities can be taught.” 

Community Outreach

Jimenez strives to build a culture of community involvement in MassMutual Tri State. The agency has been working with Junior Achievement USA for over a decade, teaching financial literacy to children. “We feel that helping underprivileged children that don't otherwise have opportunities to learn is an important part of us contributing back what we’re good at,” she says. MassMutual Tri State also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and individual advisors volunteer with many other charitable organizations.

The Most Important Part

Jimenez points to NAIFA’s political advocacy and membership benefits as the reasons MassMutual Tri State became a Financial Security Guardian. “I really wanted new advisors to have the opportunity to learn about NAIFA the way I did when I started,” she says. “By being introduced to the organization, understanding all the different benefits that they can receive from it, but most importantly understanding why the advocacy component is so critical.”

Agency officers are not officers of MassMutual. MassMutual is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives, Springfield, MA 01111-0001. Local sales firms are not subsidiaries of MassMutual or its affiliated companies.  CRN202501-1533920

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