Mass media praise the value of advice

Wednesday, December 22nd 2021, 9:46AM

by Russell Hutchinson

The media is usually critical of advisers, often citing high commissions as an obstacle to providing objective and good value advice.

But recently, journalist Rob Stock found an adviser had been able to help a client save a substantial amount of money, keeping the client with the bank’s insurer.

Of course, you and I know that those problems are the exception, not the rule and you can imagine that I began to read the article with some trepidation.

It could have been about replacement business. Indeed, in many situations, the client may be better off replacing but that wasn’t the case here.

The product was retained by the bank’s insurer, but the adviser helped the client identify savings available with the existing insurer and did not even charge a fee.

There is quite a bit in the article about the extent of the bank service compared to the adviser service.

The message this brought home to me was how a few very simple differences clearly differentiate between the bank service and the adviser one.

There were four simple ways to differentiate:

The first was a willingness to talk about how the insurance fitted in with the rest of the client’s life.

In this case, it was AIA Vitality that was discussed, but it could just as easily have been a discussion about emergency funds, or a flexible home loan facility.

Price was part of a discussion and in any discussion about price, value comes quickly into the picture, and comparison shortly after that.

A willingness to compare is almost always the hallmark of an adviser offer and a strong differentiator with most direct or institutional ones.

Availability – this adviser was able to help quickly. In contrast, I often struggle to get appointments with an institutional adviser within a couple of weeks.

A willingness to work on the phone – in the midst of a pandemic the flexibility to provide help by phone or video conferencing is vital.

Although current law may define advice in such as way that narrow scope and full service can co-exist within it, full-service offers deliver substantial value to clients.

Tags: insurance Insurance Advisers Opinion Russell Hutchinson

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