October 21, 2013

Toni Smith is sales operations director at First Complete


I was fortunate enough to go to the Pride of Britain awards a few weeks ago.  Pride of Britain celebrates the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place, but while I was there it got me thinking about the amount of unsung heroes within the financial services industry who also have such a positive influence on people’s lives.   Advisers who spend every day either helping people achieve what they most want to financially, or protecting them from the bad events that do happen from time to time – and from which many of the people at Pride of Britain had been unfortunate enough to suffer.

Seeing the people at Pride of Britain who had suffered life changing events made me wonder if they had had financial advice before the event and if they had the protection policies in place which would help make their lives so much easier.  

One of the heroes, for example, was an amazing man called Daniel Black; Daniel had a cycling accident back in 2009 leaving him paralysed at just 26 years old. He raised £22,000 towards an operation to help him walk again and then donated it all to a young boy with cerebral palsy who had never walked and who needed pioneering treatment in the US in order to do so. 

Whilst Daniel’s gift is an amazing gift of generosity and true human kindness, it did make me wonder how different his life may be if he had taken out accident insurance to help him with his burden. 

So many people with life changing conditions, who have lost limbs or suffered a critical illness would be in such a different situation if they had spoken to a good adviser who had put the right protection in place for them.

It is the heroes in our industry who play such a valuable role in helping these people. Yes, very few people actively want to buy life assurance, critical illness or accident insurance, and so often it is down to the advisers to upset people a little to help them see why it is necessary, but what a valuable role these advisers play and just how grateful are their clients at the point that they do need to claim on their policy when they discover that they don’t need to lose their home because their mortgage is paid off, that they can put in a stair lift or get the specialist care that they need, all because a financial adviser has actually taken the effort to make sure that they were protected – even if at first they didn’t want to be.

With the number of free child critical illness policies now offered by most providers when the parents take out a policy, even children can be protected in the case that they have an illness or an accident, often enabling a parent to stay at home and look after them  or buy in the specialist care that they need.

If everyone had the right protection policies in place, it should never again be necessary for someone to have to fund raise to save up for the operation that they need or to lose their home because they are too ill to work.  It is the advisers who make this happen – even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable or they don’t really have the time – who are the true unsung heroes of our industry.



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