While some people will be comfortable going direct for a guaranteed acceptance over-50s or funeral cover policy, many more people will seek advice on what is the best policy for them.
These can be easier clients to deal with, as they have already accepted their mortality and the need to prepare themselves financially for long-term care or later life cover, and are proactively seeking advice about this from qualified professionals.
However, with the old ‘universal truth’ insurance is ‘sold, not bought’, advisers need to encourage more prospective clients to consider later-life policies.
Some clients may have limited protection needs, because their circumstances are less complicated, but others may need to go into more detail - and this is not always a comfortable conversation.
Nobody likes to be reminded of their mortality or discuss medical conditions, but in order to secure their financial future and the future of their loved ones, it is vital to start up these conversations as early as possible.
And, according to Tom Drewberry, director for Drewberry Insurance, the old-fashioned concern that discussions on mortality are taboo is no longer a big impediment to starting up a discussion.
He says: “It is relatively easy now to strike up a conversation about life insurance with the over-50s. Everyone will have to pay for a funeral, and for higher net-worth clients there will be discussions about using whole-of-life for inheritance tax planning.”
Graham Jones, core business director for SunLife, agrees ‘protection’ is no longer a ‘dirty word’ to bring up, commenting: “The main areas where you can start a conversation about insurance to older people are on the issues of funeral expenses and leaving a legacy.
“For example, asking a question, such as, ‘have you made any provision for funding funeral costs?’, or ‘Are you aware how much funerals cost these days?’ helps start the conversation and gives older people an idea of the sort of provisions they can put in place to make it easier for their loved ones.”
Other ways to raise the topic of cover with potential clients aged 50 plus is to ask what sort of legacy they might be thinking of leaving to children and grandchildren.
If they mention their family, Mr Jones says this could be an opportunity to mention many over-50s life products can ensure they leave a cash sum for their families.
However, he adds: “You need to be sensitive when bringing up the issue and make sure it is relevant to the customer’s life stage.”
For Andy Nicholls, protection and mortgage adviser with Beaufort Asset Management, starting a discussion with his clients is not difficult. He feels “it is easy to introduce the subject when a mortgage is the reason for the client’s enquiry.
“Also, it is not an issue for me to discuss life cover with an older client, possibly because I am also over 50 and can empathise with clients in this position.”