In 1932, Aviva’s grandfather became an Agent of Sun Life, a life insurance company. His son, Aviva’s father, wanted to be part of the business, saying “I’ll do it, but only if I can go out and sell.” He later joined the army, and found himself developing estate and life insurance plans in his spare time for everyone in his unit.
Aviva’s father joined her grandfather in business in the 50s, forming Sapers Insurance Agency. They brought on a partner – Norm Wallack – in the 60s, and his son, Ed Wallack joined a little over a decade later. Aviva started in the business in 1983, and became CEO near the turn of the millennium.
From a foundation in life insurance, Sapers & Wallack expanded to provide employee group and retirement benefits. The firm also developed expertise in executive compensation serving a clientele of Fortune 1,000 clients. Most recently, they opened a Charitable Strategies division, aimed at helping individuals more effectively give to charities and providing nonprofit organizations concepts and techniques to share with their donors.
Day in the Life of a CEO?
“Interesting. It’s always interesting,” Aviva answered. “The main goal that gets me out of bed every day is to be able help more people.”
“Most people don’t have a good financial plan,” Aviva explained. She recalls hearing statements from friends and colleagues all too often along the lines of “I have three kids now, and the last draft of my will only mentions the first two.” Sapers & Wallack recently worked with a nonprofit organization to modernize and make competitive their executive compensation packages. The firm first interviewed the executives, asking them what they liked and disliked about their current retirement plans. It emerged that the more senior group was more interested in retirement benefits, whereas the more junior group was focused on saving for college for their children. Both groups didn’t know whether or not they could afford or were on track to retire at the normal retirement age.
Sapers & Wallack was not only able to resolve these issues, but they were also able to assist the organization with their other employee benefits, resulting in significant cost savings.
“We have to stay very current with what is going on,” Aviva explained. The firm has invested significantly in building out their CRM and workflows, and have tools for price analysis and quoting.
Additionally, Sapers & Wallack has focused on marketing and content creation, taking their deep knowledge of the industry and sharing it through their website and social media, as well as producing videos.
For Aviva, there are two proudest moments. Personally, having their first son, creating a family, and giving her parents a legacy of grandchildren. Professionally, it was becoming CEO. “My dad felt confident enough in me to let me take over the helm…that was a pretty spectacular moment.” Her father struck a fine balance, neither micro-managing nor leaving her without guidance, and under Aviva’s leadership the company has grown to new heights. We at CVM are excited to see what the next years and decades hold for Sapers & Wallack.