Q: How can I make sure I pick the right policy?
It is really about knowing a client and their needs.
For example, Louise Colley, head of protection marketing at Aviva, said advisers should check if their client has dependents, if they have any protection in place already and is theirs the only income for their family?
She said: “Advisers should make sure that they have a thorough conversation with their client in order to find out as much as possible about their priorities and requirements before any products are put in place.”
Being fully aware of the protection cover available from providers in the market is also a good start.
Jennifer Gilchrist, senior product development manager of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident, said if an adviser has access to research information such as that made available from Defaqto or Synaptics this can make the job easier.
An adviser’s clients will have their own set of personal circumstances which will mean the adviser may go for different products/providers for specific product features and options which would best suit their client’s individual needs.
Simon Wilkins, protection proposition manager of Zurich UK Life, said the right type of cover will be established by completing an effective fact find to determine the following:
1) The capital needs, short term and long term income needs of the client.
2) The terms over which cover is required.
3) The level and type of existing arrangements that can be used in the solution.
4) The eligibility to employer and state benefits.
5) The flexibility and options that should be incorporated within the plan.
6) The tax position relevant to the client and cover being considered.
7) Attitude to risk with regard to protection planning.
8) The clients order of priority in meeting their protection needs.
9) Affordability of any solution considered.
Once the type of cover has been established, Mr Wilkins said the plan selection will depend on whether you are a tied, multi tied or independent financial adviser.
As a tied or multi-tied adviser, Mr Wilkins said you can only select a plan from the provider(s) available to you and that plan must meet the clients’ needs.
If a suitable plan is not available then you must advise the client of this and can refer the client to an IFA, he added.
As an IFA you need to take the whole of the market in to consideration when selecting the right plan from the range of providers available.
According to Mr Wilkins, factors to consider are:
1) Scope of cover.
2) Underwriting requirements.
3) Cost of cover.
4) Providers quality of service both on going and at claim.
5) Providers financial strength.
You can use the various portals, best advice systems and provider micro sites available to assist your provider and plan selection, which can then be used to justify your advice.
It is important to regularly review your clients protection needs so that the cover remains fit for purpose and important to your client, Mr Wilkins added.