If I go to a protection conference these days and don't find myself frustrated on at least two occasions, I feel like something's wrong...
The source of this frustration is driven by the rather large section of my brain that still thinks very much like an IFA.
I sit there listening to presentations from some competitors and find myself wondering what the real message will be for the core audience of IFAs, or if there will be one.
You see, I'm not sure IFAs who give up their time and income to travel to a conference looking to learn something new - something they can use that they've either forgotten about or haven't used before - are going to be particularly enthralled when they realise the day's big lesson is simply to ‘talk' to your clients.
Is that really what IFAs need to learn in these times?
You see, I find myself contemplating the possibility that if IFAs haven't worked this one out yet for themselves, they are probably in the wrong industry. But maybe that's just me.
Likewise, it is also my view that discussing a few ideas around ‘what' to say - such as a few possible reasons to contact existing clients or half a dozen value-adding tips when giving advice - is likely to be infinitely more beneficial than the equivalent of telling Paxman to ‘talk' to his guests when they sit down to be interviewed.
I think we know where this is heading, so here are a few examples of reasons to contact existing clients about their potential protection needs:
- New products: "I thought you should know about this..."
- Rate cuts: "‘I thought you'd like to know that the price of some things is coming down..."
- News you can use: "Did you see that newspaper article about critical illness at the weekend?"
- Birthdays: At the risk of stating the not-quite-so-obvious, the price goes up every birthday, which links well to the cost of delaying
- How about putting old life policies that are not 'in trust' in trust? The persistency on policies written in trust is much better and while there may be some minor gifting issues to consider (which usually fall under annual exemption rules), a policy in trust is almost always better than one that isn't.
- Your policy has GIOs (guaranteed insurability options) so if your circumstances have changed we might be able to get some more cover without any new underwriting...
As for tips? Look at single life policies over joint life, make sure covers are based upon ‘own occupation' definitions wherever possible and look for policies that pay out earlier - where cover doesn't end after one claim.
I don't believe IFAs need to be told to talk to their clients. Could this be considered more than just a tad patronising? Hopefully though, a polite reminder of what might work when they do won't go a miss.
Kevin Carr is director of protection development at PruProtect
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