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Q&A Hidetoshi Okamura
Q&A Hidetoshi Okamura

May 01 2024 / Round the Table Magazine

Q&A Hidetoshi Okamura

Hidetoshi Okamura started his financial services career as the oldest employee in the branch office.

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PHOTO: Irwin Wong

Hidetoshi Okamura started his financial services career as the oldest employee in the branch office. He was 46 at the time, but he took to his new profession quickly by prospecting among his network of former employers, which included selling for a petrochemical manufacturer, an IT company and a golf course. He made the switch because he wanted to change Japanese people’s awareness about insurance.

Describe Japanese clients’ awareness about insurance.

Even though many Japanese people have insurance, many of them do not know what kind of coverage they have. In fact, I felt that it was strange that although they pay more for insurance than they do for a car, they can immediately answer what kind of car they own, but not what kind of insurance they have.

What was advantageous about starting to sell insurance at age 46?

Now that I lived long enough, I really feel the importance of insurance. Before becoming an advisor, I was in a sales position in the golfing industry and worked very hard. This gave me a sense of satisfaction and a great network, which is contributing to my business now. That is why I am grateful to have made the career transition when I did. The fact is, your clients are aging while you are, and they are more successful and have more income now than back then, which makes it easier for me to recommend financial products to them.

Some of your clients are pro athletes. How do you deal with them?

Their favorite activities and hobbies became their occupation. They enjoyed playing sports, but they don’t necessarily know enough about managing money and cannot imagine life after retirement. I had such a case just yesterday with a client I am helping to create a financial plan for. When you are a baseball player during your 20s and 30s, you’re recognized and attract attention, but life goes on in your 40s, 50s and 60s. I am there to help them structure a financially good life for them and their families. In addition to insurance and tax savings, I may be able to help them find a second and third career. More than being an insurance sales rep, I am constantly trying to find out what I can do to help my clients as an experienced businessperson in my 50s.

What is important to you?

Now that I am aging, working for myself does not satisfy me anymore. I want to make a difference and help others live better lives. I am here because of my clients and many others who have been supporting me over the years, so I want to be of service to others and to be caring and looking for things I can do for them. I am blessed to be of service to others, which became more like my life goal, and I feel good about what I do.