Recent research from the AMI reveals a mismatch between how often advisers say they discuss protection with customers – during almost every sale – and the worryingly large incidence of customers saying they do not remember the subject being mentioned. Only just over one in three (36 per cent) of the consumers surveyed by the AMI remember a conversation about protection with their adviser.
This shows the urgent need for more structured conversations about protection. The gap in understanding may also be the result of protection only being mentioned at the end of the process, which could give the impression that protection is only an optional extra. The AMI research also highlighted misunderstandings among consumers about the differences between Income Protection (IP), and Accident, Sickness and Unemployment (ASU) insurance, underlining the need to explain to customers the different benefits offered by each of these products.
2. Be straightforward
It is important that advisers are ready and able to have realistic, sensible conversations with customers about what could happen to them and how changes in their circumstances might exacerbate some of the risks they face. Advisers looking for tips on how to discuss these subjects may be able to draw on support provided by mortgage networks or insurance providers, which can provide access to expertise, training and resources to help develop techniques for addressing these subjects.
3. Use real-life case studies
If you can, use real life examples to show customers the benefits of protection and the risks associated with a failure to buy adequate cover. In cases where a claim has been paid to an existing customer, ask if you can use their story as a case study, in marketing communications and online, as well as when talking to other clients. You may also be able to discuss cases where a claim was declined by a provider until you intervened on the customer’s behalf.
Sharing these real life case studies will help customers to relate products to their own requirements and the risks they may face in the years ahead. It also offers advisers a useful way to explain the features of different types of cover and how they might suit a customer’s specific needs.
4. Address and dispel myths about protection
The AMI research reveals a worrying scepticism among consumers about information released by insurance providers. More than half of consumers (57 per cent) say they do not trust claims statistics ‘very much’ (43 per cent) or at all (14 per cent). Consumers’ estimations of the proportions of protection insurance claims that are paid out also fall well short of the real figure, more than 98 per cent.
Advisers should be able to put the facts about cover and claims in front of consumers when discussing protection products, with clear information backed up by real life case studies and referenced sources. Advisers should also ensure that any additional information the customer might need is easily accessible, online, or in printed formats, and written in clear language. Infographics can be helpful, particularly as a tool to inform customers clients about the features and benefits of different products.