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Churn keeps coming up in discussions, everywhere. In the insurers, with advisers, and with regulators.

Churn: The movement of cover form one provider to another for the sole benefit of the adviser and what they earn

Monday, March 25th 2019, 10:16AM

by Jon-Paul Hale

Jon-Paul Hale

So if it is the same basic products, with the same levels of cover and relatively the same premium I would suggest that is not a bad definition.

However, even these can look like churn and not be.

  • Did they get disclosure right? So the move is to address the underlying problem where the existing insurer would remove the cover or apply significant terms that another provider would not do.
  • Is there a particular situation for the client with their circumstances that an alternative provider will respond better to?

Unfortunately for the industry, without an understanding of the situation, this also looks like churn from the outside.

Most of the time when the term churn is trotted out it is a case of sour grapes. Also, the providers complaining are usually the ones that have encouraged it the most.

Sorry, it's called Karma, and it is calling.

However, let's face it those who say churn are usually the ones that are losing the policy/client, not the ones receiving it. No, I'm not making excuses or covering those who are genuinely churning their books, they need to be taken to task and held to account.

A significant amount of the work I do involves the replacement of benefits. Why? Because the client needs change and companies release product changes, when you match them up accurately, you get both change and loyalty.

AIA/Sovereign announced last week they have 90 changes coming. That's a massive number of changes and add to that Partner Life have had their advice support platform released on top of that. Also, the various product changes from the other insurers too.

There's enough in the last 45 days to give reason to go back to every single client and check in on their plan because there will be things that have changed since you last reviewed them.

And this is the point.

The FMA wants us to service our clients and ensure they have the best products that meet their needs. It's called client first.

I've been astounded over the years at the number of advisers that haven't been back to their clients since they sold them something.

Are you so embarrassed about what you did that you won't look them in the eye? If so, there's the door, go, the industry doesn't want you.

The reality is most have done the right thing, they know there are shortfalls that might be difficult to manage, and they think that servicing is a waste of time as it's not productive and money producing.

Dead wrong. The number of clients that have come to me and said the adviser I had doesn't call and doesn't see me is astounding. There are those clients that ignore their existing adviser too, mostly for the reason above with my harsh comment, they have been bowled and sold.

Also, I won't be the only one to hear this, most advisers have and do hear it all the time. At the same time while you are talking to that client, are you an adviser that is generating that reaction in your own clients?

Which comes back to last week's article, have you built a client-centric business?

And what I mean by that, is not only defining how you give advice, but how you manage and service your clients. Also, I think I'm dropping the ball on some of my own expectations too. You're not going to be perfect or get it perfect, no one does.

However, it is good business, I know, it's working for me, and my clients both tell me and send everyone they know my way. Also, they are tolerant of me taking time to get to them too, well most of the time.

There is only 1 reason me or another adviser is talking to your client, you!

Yup, the mirror, it's a great place to look when you lose clients. It is more often a case of what you haven't done than it is what someone else has done.

So today, that harsh reflection is all too often avoided by blaming someone else, it is and has become a cultural norm not to take personal responsibility.

We often look to define what we do as either hunters or farmers. This narrow definition does all of us a disservice. I've commented about hunters and farmers teaming up, to cover the acquisition and servicing of clients.

However, as Steven Green put it to me a long time ago, he likes to be the gamekeeper. Build a book and look after it. Service it, keep the poachers out and work the relationships and connections.

In this way, you are hunting in fertile territory.

When I started in the industry National Bank at the time had done some research, and they had come back with it costs five times more to find a new client than it costs to look after the one you have.

By servicing your clients, you gain many things in one sweep:

  • Reinforcement that you are the adviser they need to work with.
  • You identify opportunities to refine what they have and what they are doing. It's probably not a significant change or even a move of the provider. However, it is often sufficient in value to cover the time you spend.
  • You discover claims; you demonstrate the value you bring to the relationship for your client. I found a possible trauma claim on Friday, $400k worth and the client is looking at me going huh? They treated me and sent me on my way. Yup and this is designed to respond to that too.
  • You discover what's going on in peoples lives, whom they are connected to, what is happening with them and the opportunities for you to help them navigate whatever that is. This drives referrals for the really positive reasons on why they need to work with you.

It is rare for me not to have 5-6 things to run down from a simple review service meeting. Most of them result in further revenue and value for the business which is a direct reflection on the value received by the clients we work with.

When you do this, your clients don't talk to someone else, they see something from another adviser and call you, not them. People do business with people, so what are you doing to be a valued member of your community? Your client base!

What things do you do that your clients love?

Tags: Jon-Paul Hale Opinion

« Conduct and culture, the bits we should be talking aboutFADC case shows RFAs face big challenges under new laws »

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