Sesame Bankhall Group 

Advisers avoiding protection chats 'out of habit'

Advisers avoiding protection chats 'out of habit'

Mortgage advisers often fail to discuss protection issues with their customers because of a force of habit, according to Sesame Bankhall Group.

At the Protection Review conference in London yesterday (12 July), Mark Graves, sales director at the firm, said the biggest frustration for him and his colleagues was understanding how to encourage advisers to discuss the topic, which he saw as a 'moral responsibility' advisers had towards clients.

He said: “How can someone do a mortgage protection plan and then let a client walk out the door without even having a conversation with them about critical illness cover.”

He added: “As much as we as an industry have tried to come up with innovative ideas to make it simpler for advisers to actually talk to their customers, what is the barrier that is stopping them from doing it every single time.

“In its most simplistic format, we think it is habits.”

Mr Graves spoke of the recent rewire routines campaign led by Sesame Bankhall Group and Premier Mortgage Service, which ran from 4 - 24 June 2018, and challenged advisers to provide a protection and general insurance quote to each of their mortgage customers. 

The campaign followed research from the Scottish Widows protection report, which suggested about 14.5 million UK adults have a mortgage, but a mere 50 per cent have life cover.  

Mr Graves said the purpose of the campaign was to get advisers to commit to doing something different each time they spoke with a customer to create the chance of breaking an old habit. 

Sesame Bankhall said the campaign has proven effective, and it hopes any other network will take a similar approach and see positive outcomes.

Mr Graves said the campaign, which has more than 700 signatories, was targeted at those advisers who were uncomfortable addressing protection with customers 

He said: “When you get a lot of people working together with a common goal, it is amazing what you can achieve. 

“It was a concerted effort for 20 days to change the behaviour of people that otherwise felt uncomfortable or lacking in confidence about taking on the challenge of actually talking to every single one of their clients about protection.” 

Although technology has a role to play in helping customers, Mr Graves said the success of the rewire routines campaign emphasised the need for brokers to work together to provide customers with the best cover. 

He added: “Until we get the FCA to acknowledge it is a moral obligation for mortgage broker to address protection cover with a client as standard procedure, then we are not going to change the current situation - we have to make this happen collectively.” 

Peter Chadborn, director at Plan Money, said the main issue for advisers was their busy workloads and the nature of protection as a reluctant purchase, as clients will be paying for a product they hope to never have to benefit from.