The shadow of direct insurance providers looms over advisers – and the sector is gaining momentum.
A few years ago, I remember my thoughts on direct insurance providers: I wasn’t overly concerned about them because I don’t advise based on price.
I still believe that; however, one cannot deny the growth of direct insurers.
In one way, advisers have much to thank direct insurance providers for.
They’ve been able to spread the word about life and disability insurance to a large swathe of Australians, who still remain woefully underinsured.
That’s about it though. What they’ve done for the Australian consumer in terms of good marketing (because it’s not out of the goodness of their hearts) is derailed by cover that is generally not underwritten, has blanket pre-existing condition clauses, puts a clear onus on the consumer that affords them little protection in the event of a claim, and reduces life and disability insurance to the issue of price over and above anything else.
This sends the message that insurance is so simple that there is no need for structure, understanding or advice.
Superannuation funds, especially industry funds, are not far behind in their effects on the consumer.
Direct insurance providers are being negligent in their approach and both clients and advisers will suffer as a result.
But here’s the good news: advisers can leverage this wave of direct insurer marketing to engage their own clients to make sure they stay on track with their goals, plans and financial future by developing robust processes in these areas.
Be clear about your service offering. Of particular value should be your claims process.
It is something to be proud of and to show clients because apart from initial and ongoing advice, claim time is when an adviser’s value really shines through.
Helping a client, making the process as smooth and stress-free as possible is what we do. The client is why we do it. Advisers care, and it shows.
The key word is consistent. It doesn’t have to be big; it doesn’t have to be fancy; it has to be consistent.
The best education is in storytelling. People love people, so client testimonials about a claims experience are powerful. A video library is another fantastic option to provide consistent and engaging education pieces to clients.
Get in front of clients
People power! A relationship, a friendship, a face-to-a-name is powerful. If you cannot get in front of a client then Skype or GoToMeeting are great options.
It is an adviser’s duty to push clients, to uncover goals, dreams and fears and to help a client solve problems.
Advisers get to the heart of their clients and to the heart of their concerns so that direct insurance providers aren’t even a blip on the radar after an adviser has engaged them.
These are just three ideas that can help take advisers beyond a product- and price-focused discussion with clients.
With client-focused strategies driven from passion, education and service, the looming spectre of direct insurance can be put to bed.
How do you feel about the perceived threat of direct insurance products? Do you have any engagement strategies you can share with the Risk Adviser community?
Sacha Loutkovsky is a specialist life insurance adviser and director at Loufin – Tailored Insurance Solutions.
Any views expressed in the article are Sacha’s own personal opinions and are not necessarily reflective of the views of her licensee or any professional bodies she may be a part of.