James Watson, sales and marketing director at Paymentshield
2017 is a year we won’t forget easily – even though we might want to. The financial industry alone has seen changes to stamp duty, business rates and pensions, along with rising mortgage rates and yet another IPT increase. So, what do we need to prepare for as we enter the second half of the year?
From my perspective, the future is looking… well, futuristic! There’s a huge amount of chatter around technology and how advances in this area are already affecting and will continue to affect the way we operate. With Paymentshield celebrating its 25th anniversary in July this year, we’ve seen how the industry has been transformed by digital innovation over the years and this is only set to be amplified.
Consumers are more technologically literate than ever, which means that advisers are experiencing a major shift in what their clients have come to expect in terms of how they’re communicated to and the speed of service they’re offered. We’re witnessing a market-wide realisation of the need to be more flexible and efficient in order to meet clients’ needs.
With this in mind, organisations such as Aviva have made landmark technological moves this year, which we’ll see play out over coming months. The introduction of its ‘Ask It Never’ concept sees the company harnessing Big Data to eliminate the need to ask clients questions, saving them precious time and promising to pass on discounts as a result of heightened accuracy.
While the whole industry isn’t going to adopt this highly technical technique within the next six months, Big Data will start to become more important during this time. All insurance providers need to invest in ways to make it as easy as possible for advisers to provide a home insurance quote with every mortgage, and if Big Data will eventually help to speed up the quote and apply process while enabling better aftercare, then that’s fantastic.
However, with 17% of property owners still not having buildings insurance, and the same figure being true for contents insurance, the adviser must hold crucial conversations to highlight the importance of quality insurance and getting the client to the quote and apply stage in the first place. Once there, the adviser needs to provide guidance as to what policy and options are actually appropriate.
I’m pleased to say I’m hearing more and more people talking about the idea of the fully protected home and recognising that general insurance is often overlooked. With a number of mortgage networks and directly authorised clubs getting behind this idea, over the next six months I’m expecting to see a much greater focus on encouraging advisers to quote general insurance with every mortgage. Providers must ensure that they offer support and resources to help advisers to do this – from technical support, training resources and guidance on sales process integration, through to customer facing marketing materials.
Changes, particularly those driven by technology, can be overwhelming at times. However, they hold a huge amount of potential in terms of making life simpler and increasing income for advisers – and that’s something to be celebrated!