When it comes to advising clients with unusual occupations or health conditions, the first thing to do is to really know the customer.
According to Jeff Woods, business development director for Sesame Bankall Group, “most simply, it’s about advisers getting to know their customers in order to ascertain the types of cover they might need.”
To do this, he says it is important to make sure a customer who considers they will not be eligible for life insurance realise that they can get cover, and why it is important they do so.
He adds: “Challenge them in different situations and scenarios to find out how they would continue to support the lifestyle they currently have.
“This will create a more emotional and powerful effect on the customer’s overall decision-making process, rather than listening to a list of product benefits and features which they might not understand.”
Emma Thomson, life office relations director for Lifesearch, agrees, saying: “Asking how they or their family would be able to pay the bills in the event of death or serious long-term illness is a basic starting point.
“Where clients disclose factors that could pose a risk, it is important not to get put off, especially (as) it is because these clients are deemed more likely to claim because of their health, hobby or job.”
Deepak Jobanputra, deputy chief executive of Vitality Life, says one way to bring home the protection message is through campaigns such as the Seven Families campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the financial impact of long-term illness and disability.
Many insurers offer practical steps, such as Aviva, whose New Thinking adviser site has a range of tips to help advisers encourage clients to think about protection.
Once the client realises they can get cover, and they understand the importance of this, Ms Thomson says the next thing to do is “Shop around, because some insurers are better than others on different risks.”
Budgeting for costs
Although some non-standard cover comes with higher premiums attached, which could prove too costly for some people to afford, Ms Thomson says it might be worth reducing the level of cover.
She explains: “Shortening the term or, if looking at income protection, increasing the deferment period, can sometimes improve underwriting stances, so consider that, too.
“And, with some risks, terms can be improved upon in a few years’ time, so it is worth revisiting your clients at a later date to see if improvements in their health or travel situation can reduce their premiums.”
Another potential bump in the road for advisers when it comes to unusual insurance situations is many UK insurers have withdrawn from offering life insurance to British expats.