Ben Burgess is senior adviser and protection specialist of LifeSearch
Thinking about our own mortality coupled with how injury or illness could alter our quality of life is not particularly pleasant. Imagining how these scenarios could impact the people we love most is often even worse.
If thinking about it is difficult, talking about it with a stranger can be exponentially harder. Even if you were to remove the emotional element from the equation, most would agree that successfully navigating the protection market can be daunting.
There are a significant number of providers out there that offer a variety of products at a wide range of price points. But how well can an unexperienced adviser, let alone member of the public, sift through it all and reach an appropriate outcome?
It is easy for first-time buyers (FTBs) to go online and get a quote. Often, they won’t fully understand the options and will be largely motivated by price.
As advisers, it is our duty provide insight and tailor advice to the individual’s specific needs. We are providing customers with a safety net that they or their families will depend upon in their time of absolute need.
There are two fundamental pillars to adhere to when working out the most comprehensive, cost-effective, and time efficient options for protection. Anybody can punch numbers into a calculator online – but that’s not protection advice.
Know your client
A little bit of trust goes a long way. The more you can match your recommendation to the client’s individual circumstances, the more it will mean to them, and the longer that family will stay a client.
In a role where the adviser generally steers the conversation, it is important to remain a good listener, too, and to probe deeper on areas of importance – especially around sick pay, savings, pensions, sources of alternative income, work benefits, and health disclosures.
Protection advisers spend all day talking about death, injury, and serious illness. After a while, you can become a little desensitised. Your client, on the other hand, may well be talking, and even thinking, about these things for the first time in their lives.
Clients need someone who is able to get them talking comfortably, who is ready to listen, and who cares about providing the appropriate advice, which is especially true when discussing sensitive health issues with vulnerable clients or for those people who may have recently lost someone close to them.
Now, more than ever, empathy is important. Protection advice isn’t simple, and getting it right can be incredibly important.
So, get it right or partner with a firm which can help.