New Year’s resolutions for advisers

Mortgage Introducer

January 31, 2017

Geoff Hall (pictured) is managing director of Berkeley Alexander

New Year’s resolutions – 10 ways advisors can make a difference to their clients in 2017.

  1. Keep them secure – When times are tough, it can be easy for clients to think scrapping home insurance offers a quick way to cut outgoings.  Make sure your clients are aware of the perils of underinsurance and no insurance
  2. Don’t disregard OAP’s – No I don’t mean the elderly! Don’t be afraid to discuss Optional Additional Protections (such as legal expenses cover, accidental damage or even frozen food cover)
  3. Be fair – In the age of fair representation, the onus is on you to ask questions, keep on top of changing needs and ensure clients never have a claim declined because they failed to disclose material information
  4. Keep a roof over their heads – Tackle any reticence about ASU and mortgage protection – speak to your clients about their income, savings and debts; how long could they realistically survive if they were to lose their job?
  5. Shop around – With around 25% of homeowners wasting money by not shopping around, renewals offer you a great opportunity to prove your worth
  6. Right cover, right price – Cheapest does not always mean best. Explain that a little extra premium can sometimes cost less than the consequences of not being insured properly
  7. Five-star service – Whilst price is a vital component, top quality service doesn’t mean rushing to deliver 5-star rated products.   Do they really need the bells and whistles, or could cover provided under 3/4 star products deliver just what they need?
  8. Embrace “soft” credit checks – It can reduce premiums, opens up a wider product range and delivers a more accurate level of cover – and on home insurance it doesn’t affect a client’s credit rating.
  9. Get ahead of SMI – With further changes planned to Support for Mortgage Interest in 2018, speak to your more vulnerable clients now, give them advice on MPPI and other products to help limit their reliance on this welfare safety net should the worst happen
  10. Make sure your GI provider measures up – Their performance has a direct impact on your business.  Conduct some due diligence on the administration, regulation and financial stability of their products

Not all cover is equal

Real house prices are lower than 2007 in 58% of areas

I read with much interest a piece in the Telegraph on a Which? report into the unknown quirks and exclusions that affect the price paid for insurance, aimed at helping consumers make smarter choices.  The piece also raised the issue of long, complicated insurance contracts, and the fact that half of the people believe them to be difficult to understand, choosing only to skim read terms and conditions.

Whilst I don’t think it is always helpful to scaremonger about the more unusual exclusions, I do think it draws attention to a real problem for the industry.  If consumers find it difficult to understand the jargon and rely on comparison sites (who let’s be honest focus on upselling the USP’s – and mainly the low cost –  in favour of highlighting any policy limitations), the risk is that policyholders will end up with the lowest common denominator, rather than cover that reflects their needs.

Advisors are the best line of defence against policy quirks and pitfalls – asking the right questions, knowing what to look for, understanding the jargon, and achieving best value rather than just best price.  So, my New Year’s resolution, amongst others, is to continue to raise awareness of the importance of advisors, and help turn the tide on quick win cover in favour of fit for purpose protection.

Airbnb Update

In the latest twist to the Airbnb balcony collapse, Airbnb has denied liability for the incident, in which four people suffered serious injuries at a Brighton flat rented through the site, leaving the homeowner potentially liable.

Despite the Airbnb website claiming to provide a host guarantee up to $1m in the event of damage, theft or an injury, a victim is reported to have said “It’s like they don’t care. They haven’t provided us with anything: acknowledgement, apology, financial support for our ongoing needs”.

I stress again the Airbnb “Host Guarantee” is no replacement for appropriate insurance.  If you have home-sharing clients, or clients that are considering it in 2017, guide them through the process, ensure they have the correct permissions in place, and that they are protected with the right levels of cover for all the potential risks they are exposing themselves to.

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