The new year’s new challenges and opportunities
Neal Jannels, (pictured) managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)
A New Year brings new challenges and new opportunities.
On the back of one of the most dynamic December’s for quite some time, the market appears to have settled.
I haven’t seen a prominent string of Brexit-related headlines for a good couple of weeks – although the festive period might have had something to do with this – and I would say that all is well with the world but then actions from our ‘friends’ across the pond quickly scuppered this.
This is obviously a highly sensitive area which I will steer well clear of, so let’s concentrate on what, if any, fallout has been felt across financial services since the General Election.
Demand for health insurance is reported to have rocketed, with ActiveQuote seeing a staggering 810% increase in enquiries following the Conservative’s landslide win.
Advisers were said to have handled a surge in calls about private medical insurance throughout election week, peaking at an 810% increase following confirmation of the Tory majority.
It suggested that whilst most insurance products, including life insurance, income protection and unemployment cover have remained stable, the surge in health insurance enquiries has been substantial.
In addition, there are initial signs of a post-election uplift in homebuyer demand with the biggest increase being seen in London.
According to Rightmove, demand across the UK from prospective buyers increased by 28% in the four days after the election (Friday 13 to Monday 16 December) compared to the same four days in 2018 (Friday 14 to Monday 17 December).
The biggest increase was recorded in London, up 54% on the previous year.
The rise in property-related enquiries is an understandable and expected one.
The housing market has long been craving some degree of political and economic stability in order to give first-time buyers and homeowners much-needed confidence to get deals done.
And this is an area where brokers are well-equipped to cope with any uplift in demand.
However, the insurance market is a slightly different kettle of fish.
This is a sector which can go ignored by mortgage advisers due to a lack of time, inclination and/or not being equipped to deal with such enquiries – and I’m not just talking about health insurance.
This leads to the argument of whether it is better to be an expert in one field or a jack of all trades.
It’s fair to say that the vast majority of mortgage advisers will not advise on investment or pensions.
In a similar vein, most pension and/or investment advisers are not looking to get involved in mortgage business.
This specialism makes it easier for clients to seek the right type of advice and for advisers to become experts in their particular field.
On the flip side, it also means that some of the client’s other financial requirements may get lost in the mix and opportunities lost from an advice perspective.
Protection and general insurance are areas which sit closest to the mortgage process, but these remain areas which are being undersold or simply overlooked by all too many mortgage advisers.
Meaning that such advisers are not only missing out on valuable income streams, they also run the risk of losing their client to another adviser who is able to satisfy a wider variety of their needs.
What if there was a third alternative?
Utilising technology in the form of systems, solutions and platforms can offer advisers access to a range of ancillary services in a cost-effective and comprehensive manner – be this on a referral basis or in handling the cases themselves.
With tech advances leading the way for firms to cover more advice bases, it’s clear that choosing suppliers and IT that can support/flexibility to cover more of your shifting client needs, including GI and protection, has to be the way forward.
And this tech nirvana is now easier to reach than you might think.