The guide, which was developed by Action for Suicide Prevention in Insurance (Aspiin), was launched today (September 10) on World Suicide Prevention Day, in partnership with the Protection Distributors Group and SBG.
Aspiin is a voluntary group of individuals from the protection industry who have a professional or personal experience of the devastating impact of suicide.
The guidance examines why a customer may want to talk about suicide when discussing insurance and signposts to sources of further support.
It also talks about access to insurance for customers and the right language to use when approaching this subject.
Michele Golunska, chief executive officer at SBG, said: “The suicide of a family member, colleague or a friend causes great distress, and casts a very long shadow for those who are left behind. Financial advisers might find themselves in a situation where they have real concerns over a customer’s health and welfare.
“Financial advisers are professionals in what they do, but they are not trained counsellors. We need to help equip them with the right information, so they can signpost customers to the right sources of expert assistance.”
Golunska said SBG’s support for this initiative was built on the work already undertaken by Aspiin in partnership with the PDG.
“It’s an initiative that’s been developed by a range of industry experts with knowledge of this subject working collaboratively,” she added. “If it has a positive impact on just one person’s life, then the effort will be worthwhile.”
Research undertaken by Aspiin indicates there is an increasing demand for suicide prevention training.
That's why the guide includes a directory of training resources, including a list of where firms and individuals can go to get further training.
The aim is for advisers to become more confident in identifying and supporting customers, or potential customers, who may be suicidal.
Fraser Ballantine, chairman of Aspiin, said: “I learned the heart-breaking, very personal impact of suicide when my best friend took his own life.
"Through Aspiin work we know that financial advisers can find themselves in difficult conversations with customers and want help on how to respond."
Alan Knowles, chairman of the PDG, added: “Some protection conversations require discussions about mental health, which is difficult for everyone involved.
"There’s the possibility that products will come with a mental health exclusion, a proposal that needs to be discussed with great sensitivity and care.
“We wanted to support Aspiin in this important work, as we believe that advisers have a duty in helping to identify clients, who may be at risk.”