The US retail insurance and annuity division of Sun Life Financial has enhanced its Business Succession Planning Program.

Vital to any small business’s long-term success, succession planning enables owners to manage the transition of their business to future owners and management.

About 90% of businesses in the US are closely held, and as this business sector grows, so does the opportunity for advisors to give owners basic business protection. Only 25-30% of closely held businesses have a succession plan in place. As a result, only 30% continue to the second generation, and less than 10% to a third.

According to Sun Life, its Business Succession Planning Program provides advisors with the materials and strategies to address the challenges that business owners face when building a succession plan. The program guides advisors through two traditional strategies – buy/sell agreements and key person insurance – while providing sales ideas, case studies, a fact finder and new producer and business owner guides.

Janice Forgays, vice president of advanced markets at Sun Life Financial, said: Knowing that succession can be a difficult topic for many small business owners to discuss, Sun Life’s program provides the tools and advice that advisors need when talking to clients about the necessary financial and legal steps to take regarding business succession and protection.