Rickson is a Life Insurance specialist with expertise in products and solutions for high-net-worth individuals. He has been a proud member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) since 2003, and for 15 consecutive years now, has made the prestigious Top of the Table (TOT), an elite circle of the top 1% of Life Insurance and Finance professionals globally.
Stepping into the insurance and financial services industry marked a turning point in Rickson D’Souza’s life, traced back to October 17, 1999. He vividly recalls, “As I entered the industry, my first manager instantly became my guiding mentor. In a revelation that ignited a passionate fire within me, he conveyed that I had no limitations on my income and could amass any desired amount in the business. The freedom to work any number of hours beckoned me. That’s why I joined the business – It was an industry with no ceilings for the ambitious; it was free from Red Tapism and office bureaucracy. Everything hinged on my efforts, putting the results squarely in my hands. This pivotal realization was not just why I entered the business; it’s why I chose to remain.”
Breaking free from traditional constraints, Rickson actively engaged in coaching programs like Strategic Coach. These interactions with successful entrepreneurs fueled a paradigm shift, leading him to focus on quality over quantity. He explains, “One of my coaches changed the course of my life because he showed me an alternate path of working, which required me to work on five to six new ‘right-fit’ clients a year rather than 132 clients a year. That shift was a game-changer and has, today, landed me in the space of large-value Life Insurance for high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) entrepreneurs.”
Reflecting on his extensive career, Rickson shares a defining moment: “One of my earliest career milestones was getting physically thrown out of API Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road by building security after two or three months in the business. I was cold-calling in the building, and the receptionist of a large organization complained about me. I consider it a milestone because it taught me how to navigate extreme rejection.”
Rickson’s journey continued with significant achievements, including qualifying for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT®) in 2003 and attending his first MDRT meeting in 2007. Establishing his own business in 2005, he reached the pinnacle of performance standards in the financial services sector, earning the esteemed ‘Top of the Table’ qualification for the first time in 2009. In 2012, he audited and restructured a life insurance contract, sparking a passion for working exclusively with high-net-worth entrepreneurs. Reflecting on this, Rickson notes, “That sparked the need, urge, and passion to work with entrepreneurs only. It was, at the time, the largest deal that we’d ever closed; it was a total life insurance cover of $60 million.”
Health Epiphany Fueling Transformative Change
Despite these professional triumphs, Rickson faced significant personal challenges. The catalyst for his transformative journey from a workaholic lifestyle to a four-day workweek was a stark wake-up call from a life insurance company. They charged him a 100% higher premium than the average person when purchasing a life insurance policy. At the age of 33, weighing 138kg, and working 12-13 hours a day, six days a week, he was considered morbidly obese, posing a high risk according to the underwriter’s assessment.
Reflecting on this challenging period, Rickson shares, “In 2011, my daughter was born, and I realized that I was chasing the dollar at the expense of spending time with her. This was the beginning of my health and fitness journey. In 2012, I underwent bariatric surgery and took the reins in my hands. I trained hard and started to watch my diet, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Seeking inspiration from Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek,” Rickson discovered an alternative way to work. He actively pursued health, fitness, and downtime, resulting in a healthier lifestyle and transforming from a 100% higher-rated life insurance policy to standard pricing.
The pursuit of ‘balance’ wasn’t just about personal well-being but extended to a strategic reevaluation of his professional commitments. Rickson strategically shifted his focus to working exclusively with right-fit clients, seeking to achieve more impact with fewer engagements. The value of time became a focal point, prompting a thorough redefinition of the criteria for entrepreneurs to benefit from his advisory services. He identified specific parameters based on which he chose his clients, including hailing from the Indian subcontinent or the Arab world, being married with children, and belonging to an entrepreneurial family. The litmus test became a dinner invitation – if Rickson could extend an invitation, they were instantly deemed a right-fit client.
Financial Planning Beyond Conventional Coverage
Rickson’s dedication extended beyond professional considerations. He actively engaged with individuals facing higher premiums due to health reasons, prioritizing their transformation to significantly lower price points through improvements in health metrics. This personalized approach ensured clients had an advisor who understood and navigated similar challenges empathetically.
He says, “My personal experience greatly influenced how I advised my clients afterward. Instead of simply providing theoretical advice, I could share my firsthand knowledge of time, money, and health costs. I was no longer just saying, “You need to shed a few pounds and get moving.” I had stories and experiences about how I had done it myself.”
In a notable case, a family patriarch with two sons and a daughter faced an imbalance in asset distribution. Having entrusted the business to his sons and believing the daughter’s marriage negated the need for asset transfer, he later realized the disparity. To rectify this, Rickson structured a large-value life insurance policy with the daughter as the beneficiary. In the event of his demise, the daughter would receive a payout equivalent to the current estate value, creating an equitable distribution among all three children. While the sons inherited their share through business and assets, the daughter’s share came through the life insurance payout, providing a thoughtful and strategic solution to address the familial imbalance.
Rickson’s Take on Life Insurance: Much More Than A Safety Net
Reflecting on the evolving landscape of life insurance over the last two decades, Rickson says, “Life insurance policies have markedly expanded in their applications. They now serve diverse purposes, such as succession planning, estate equalization, loan collateral, and ring financing. This broader utilization of life insurance products has reshaped modern financial planning, empowering me to provide clients with bespoke solutions that transcend conventional coverage.”
In conclusion, drawing from his experience, Rickson extends valuable advice to emerging leaders in the financial sector: “Stay true to your client, your audience, and your team. There needs to be an alignment between your purpose, knowing your WHY, and identifying the problems you want to solve. Everyone is saying something, but if you can be clear about why you are in this business, what problem you are here to solve, and then align your team to that mission – that’s when you’re on to something.”