Sarah Walker from Future Proof is the first to take part in our 2020 Adviser Protection Interview.
Why is protection important to you as an adviser and to your business?
The role that we perform helps bridge the protection gap. On a broader level, it reduces the impact on the state to provide for those too sick or unable to work. On a personal level, it allows us to put plans in place to maintain standards of living, keep families together and reduce stress allowing a more relaxed environment where people can focus on getting better or maintain the standard of living they are used to. Protection is the foundation of all financial planning, protect and then extend…
Why are you successful as a protection adviser?
We simply put our success down to our company ethos of putting our clients at the heart of everything that we do. We get to know them as individuals and understand that protection should not be a second thought.
Often clients do not know what they need, sometimes they think they know and after the advice process end up signing up to a very different arrangement. Encouraging everyone to look holistically at all aspects of protecting their financial world means that often, it is not only life cover that they end up committing to. Rather, critical illness and income protection ensuring all-encompassing protection.
What do you want to see from insurers this year in terms of products and added value services?
More guidance for people around lifestyle, nutrition and diet. Diabetes and obesity are swiftly becoming widespread and yet preventable. With budget cutbacks the government can’t be everything to everyone, it is increasingly falling to the private sector to pick up the mantle. Educating and encouraging a healthier lifestyle whilst being supportive is a good way to reduce future claims. Free added benefits like AIGs SmartHealth are the way forward and satisfy millennials need for more instant gratification
What do you want from the Protection Review Conference this year, and from Protection Review in general?
We want to see more advisers furnished with the tools of how to have difficult conversations. Coming together to create a question and answer bank that not only helps advisers to paint a picture but to tell a narrative. Ensuring clients fully understand [SW1] the implications of not taking on board advice. And helping advisers to turn a no around. Running adviser ‘clinics’ with coaching and roleplaying scenarios would be immensely helpful. We do this inhouse for all new starters, but perhaps it should be rolled out by the main intermediary’s in the protection industry to wider audience?
What’s the one major issue facing protection in 2020 and how would you like to see it fixed?
Enough with the talking about mental health, now to the action needs to happen. Providers need to change with the times. The stigma surrounding it needs to be shown the door. Language needs to be softened, underwriting needs to be more flexible and looked at with common sense on a case by case basis. Underwriters need to be empowered to make individual case decisions.
There are still applications where the wording is so horrifically cold and clinical that we rephrase the questions, so as not to cause upset and offence.
Questions such as:
- “Have you ever considered or tried to commit suicide?” we alter to “have you ever felt so low as to consider self-harm or made an attempt on your life?”
- “When did your mother die?” to “when did your mother pass away”? We need to be more human to break down barriers, else how will the public ever trust us?