When you think about it this alone is a good reason for advisers to lack confidence in protection products. Why would they want to dedicate their time and energy to a process that ends in failure 20% of the time?
Equally it just doesn’t look good does it? There’s a chance that the client won’t just blame the insurer for the outcome but indeed the adviser who recommended the product in the first place.
So given this background, from an insurer’s perspective, I understand that we need to find a way to simplify the application process and give all concerned more confidence.
Now that’s no easy challenge and there is probably no right way to go about it. But we won’t get anywhere if we don’t debate the issues and come up with some ideas so here’s a few to get you thinking.
Communication is key
Some of the best solutions to the hardest problems are the simplest. Forgetting the more in depth arguments for the moment we could definitely make some quick improvements if we simply communicated more effectively.
Insurers and advisers need to develop an open and frank dialogue on underwriting; something which doesn’t always come naturally.
Insurers should open previously closed communication channels to their underwriters, invite questions throughout the process and share as much of their underwriting philosophy as physically possible.
The results would be instant; better more transparent relationships, a common understanding and less wasted time. Surely all parties would be happy with these outcomes.
Underwriting is by its nature a complex and in depth process and as a marketer I won’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of everything it encompasses. But in a way this is a starting point in an important lesson for the industry as a whole.
At the moment, by default, we seem to expect advisers to be able to cope with the demands of multiple underwriting processes, for multiple insurers across multiple systems.
However organised the adviser, that’s a big ask.
So if we really want to find a way to move the protection industry forward isn’t it time insurers began to work together finding common approaches on common platforms?
It may be a bit uncomfortable for some but in order to increase demand and build a long-term future for protection we may have to work together rather than simply competing for current levels of demand.
There are few things in life consumers are prepared to wait for and protection insurance isn’t one of them.
Okay, in the smartphone or tablet market, a few hardy souls line up in all weather overnight to get their hands on the latest device but the same can hardly be said of what we do.
That makes the time it takes to deliver cover even more important. We need to put as few barriers in the way of customers as possible yet we make them wait hours, days and often weeks to get what they’ve decided they need.
But have we really been honest with ourselves over this need for speed? Sure some understand how important speed is but some still maintain that to get the right cover, consumers need to wait.
If there is one key point it’s that in the world today consumers won’t be told what they need to do. If something doesn’t match up to their expectations they will simply walk away and often share their experience on social media to boot.
Granted it’s not going to be easy; but as with all major challenges the rewards for success could be great. However we manage to do it, when it comes to protection, we need to make it easier to buy rather than apply.