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Raising the subject with clients

This article is part of
Guide to Income Protection

It is important that an adviser takes the time to understand their client needs and what they value as being important.

Most advisers specialising in protection argue that the subject needs to be introduced into the conversation once the client’s priorities and aspirations have been uncovered - and that it should never be tacked on to the end of a conversation.

Tom Baigrie, chief executive of LifeSearch, states advisers who leave it until the last minute to raise the subject of protection effectively devalue the product in the eyes of the client.

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“There are many ways of addressing protection needs, including using budget planners, employee handbooks, advertising and newspapers and more.”

To highlight the need for protection, Mr Baigrie says it is vital both the adviser and their client grasp the impact of losing an income and the serious financial consequences this may have.

The starting point must be to try to take the customer out of their comfort zone by posing the question: What would happen if…

A) You were to die prematurely?

B) You were to suffer an illness that would mean significant life changes?

C) You were forced to stop working, and so lose income, as a result of an illness or accident?

A clear understanding of the implications of ill health or redundancy should lead to a far more informed customer decision, according to Mark Anders, director of sales and marketing for individual protection at Friends Life.

Another starting point, according to Mr Anders, is to look at the various ‘rites of passage’.

Considering and discussing what life changes may take place could alter a client’s perspective and as a result the way individuals look at their priorities. For example, is the client getting married, starting a family, buying a house or starting a new job?

“These situations all impact financial commitments, underpinned by an assumption that regular salary payments continue throughout life, so what would be the consequence of removing this salary, either permanently or temporarily?”