Emerging Trends – The Adviser of the Future.

Emerging Trends – The Adviser of the Future.

Two common models in business, which can be seen across the Financial Advice market are the volume-based business and the value-based business.

The volume business focuses on getting lots of clients through the door who have fairly simple requirements, it’s a low-touch model but relies on efficiency of processes and fairly straightforward clients who don’t have complicated needs.

The value business model is one where much fewer clients are served more holistically and the Adviser provides much more nuanced and bespoke service. They may specialize in a particular area of advice (or occupations) and they will generally stay with the client for life. Serving their needs as they change over time.

 

Can these models survive?

With changes to commissions and much higher compliance requirements, both models are under threat. The volume model isn’t satisfying customer needs and the value model isn’t bringing in a sustainable amount of business. So, what should an Adviser do?

The key to the future is developing a hybrid that adapts to rapid change.

Characteristics of this business model include;

  • Taking advantage of operational efficiency without diminishing your offering
  • Leveraging technology to deliver personalized and bespoke customer service that is indistinguishable from the high-touch model
  • Identifying opportunities to carve out market-share and seek out customers with modern marketing approaches
  • Building reputation and profile online via search, social media and web-presence
  • Investing in on-going training and education for all staff

Like a phoenix from the ashes.

Last year when our industry faced hit after hit, some among us wondered what the future, if anything, would look like. The new hybrid model is already bringing huge success to the Advisers who are embracing it and we’re delighted to be supporting them in this transformational change. The truth is, at the heart of this strategy is a focus on customers, and when you do that – you can’t go wrong. 

Suzie Brown

Suzie Brown

General Manager Distribution

Ever wish that life insurance products worked better in practice? Us too!

How much does it cost to have a baby?

How much does it cost to have a baby?

If predictions are true, in 9-ish months we are going to be looking at a lockdown baby boom. But what is the true cost of having a child? We look at some of the costs that don’t normally get factored in. The figure could be the cold shower you need.

 

The true cost.

More than two thirds of women give birth in the public system*, and while this is essentially no-cost, not everything you need is covered. For example, scans or pathology tests (if done outside the hospital) and medicines. So while these things may have a Medicare rebate, there are out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Have you thought about…

There are just some things that are really easy to remember to budget for. All the cute stuff for the baby that generally get parents, grandparents and friends a little ‘goo goo gah gah’. Things like baby blankets, clothing, a cot, pram, change-table. But the stuff that often gets overlooked and not budgeted for are just as important. For example, maternity clothes for mum, physiotherapy, exercise classes, regular ultrasound scans, GP visits, antenatal classes and childcare. These things can easily run into the hundreds (and thousands) of dollars over time.

We also know that once new parents bring a child into the world it’s a key prompt for many people to consider Life Insurance because once you have a child you want to ensure that they are looked after if something was to happen to you – for example death or permanent disability. Given that the cost of protecting you and your family only increases with time, it’s something that’s advantageous to lock-in as soon as possible – it can save you big bucks over the life of a policy.

There are very many things you cannot control in this world like COVID-19 and whether there will be enough toilet paper in the grocery store, but you can ensure that you take out insurance to protect your family from financial burdens should the worse happen. 

 

Putting a figure on it.

According to the NATSEM Income and Wealth Report from 2013, for a middle-income family in Australia, the cost of raising two kids, from birth to when they leave home is $812,000. If you’re a higher income family, this figure increases to $1.09 million whereas a lower income family can look to spend $474,000. As the cost of living has increased since this report was released, you can expect these figures to be even higher in 2020. Food for thought, right?

While no one can put a cost on how much you love your kids, there is a reality around how much you’re going to need to budget if you want to hear the patter of little feet.

*https://www.abc.net.au/life/the-cost-of-childbirth-and-the-hidden-bills-to-prepare-for/10350778

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

Buying life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buying life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In countries like the US and Thailand, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a rush of ‘panic buying’ for Life Insurance, and even here in Australia we are seeing an increase in policies (mainly in the direct market) as consumers rush to protect themselves and their families.

But is Life Insurance a good ‘panic buy’ and how has the application process changed?

Fools rush in.

The short answer is ‘no’. It’s not something you should buy on a whim for a number of reasons. The products are complex and small details can have massive ramifications in terms of outcomes. It’s also a purchase that often involves a lot of conversations with partners, loved ones, and even those outside the family. Life insurance involves making decisions about how you want to live, and die, and these are not the kinds of decisions you want to rush through. We always recommend speaking to a financial Adviser (see https://fpa.com.au/, https://www.afa.asn.au/ or https://www.adviserratings.com.au/).

Applying for insurance – what has changed?

With social distancing here to stay for the foreseeable future, the normal process to getting life insurance has changed for many people. Everything from being able to meet face-to-face to getting medical exams are a little more challenging now. But what’s important to know is that life insurance companies are taking new clients, including those on the front-line and even if you have the potential to be exposed to COVID-19 through travel or your job.

  1. You may not need a medical exam. Actually, many applications depending on the type of cover and your personal circumstance have never needed any medical examinations or ‘physicals’. If you do need an examination, our providers have safeguards in place to manage infection (and always have had) and we consider the risk is no greater than any other personal care you might need in these times – like getting your hair cut. In many cases where we may need medical data we’re looking at existing medical records, prescriptions and other data points to get you covered.
  2. Collaborative conference applications. Where normally a Financial Adviser may sit with you in person at their office or your home, many are now using video conferencing to kick off the application process. There are some insurers (like us) who have designed in the ability to ask the health questions we need in the application process, that is online on a sharable screen so that client and Adviser can complete the process together via video-conferencing for a much more collaborative and engaging process. 
  3. You may be asked new questions. For example, have you recently been on a cruise, or been in contact with anyone who has contracted COVID-19 – many underwriters like Integrity who use a digital process, where you are only asked further questions relevant to your initial answers have not yet needed to ask questions this specific.
  4. You won’t need to fill in any paperwork. If you don’t have a printer, or feel like going to the post-office, or are inclined to complete pages and pages of questions – you may be able to take advantage of ‘smart forms’ that are 100% online and only ask the questions that are relevant to you – based on your previous responses. It saves considerable time completing applications and no painful paperwork.

Life insurance is now firmly on many people’s radar where previously it was the kind of thing that was put off until ‘later’. Make sure though when you are considering a policy to understand the process and that you’re generally not comparing apples with apples.

Scott Hodgson

Scott Hodgson

Chief Underwriter

Supporting clients, customers and community during COVID-19.

Supporting clients, customers and community during COVID-19.

It’s been heartening to see how Australians everywhere have come together to help flatten the curve and support each other during these unprecedented times. Whether it’s through physical distancing, local manufacturers turning their trade to producing essentials (like hand-sanitizer) or just supporting positive mental health with a bit of fun, we’re all doing out bit to ensure we get through this together. We’re no different. We have made a number of significant changes to how we do business in order to support Adviser and Broker clients, our customers and communities. Here are just some of those initiatives.

Adapting our claims process.

Our role is to be there when people need us most, and there is no time when you will need help more than at claim time. To guide our systems and processes we have a simple and straight forward claims philosophy. We treat all people who lodge a claim the way we would want to be treated if we were in their place. Integrity isn’t just our name, it’s also the way we do business.

We’ve eliminated claim forms for almost all claims and replaced them with a tele-claim process that allows us to collect the information we need for a claim quickly and with less follow ups for additional information. We’ve even extended this to generating fully personalised treating physician questionnaires so that busy Doctors can provide information on a claim without having to wade through pages of questions.

We’re also continuing to pay ongoing benefits even if medical information is temporarily unavailable from hospitals and medical centres. This ensures your clients keep getting paid without putting any additional pressure on medical professionals during this time.  

Financial hardship.

We have invoked our financial hardship policy for anyone who has lost a job as a result of COVID-19 or who has had a significant reduction in hours/pay. Not only have we introduced premium waivers, but we’re also allowing suspension of cover for 6 months or 1 year, depending how long the policy has been in-force.  

Ongoing support for our frontline.

As we have always done, we’re continuing to support Australia’s frontline workers by maintaining our standard application rules. This means no loadings or exclusions for frontline workers and we have expanded the definition of ‘frontline’ to include many additional essential jobs like Pharmacist, Police Officer and Aged Care worker.

Supporting Advisers and their clients through technology.

Our Award-Winning Adviser portal was built to accommodate both remote working for Advisers and remote applications for clients. We have a number of features that support this like; an adaptive portal that can be accessed on any device from anywhere with an internet connection, our “Send App to Client” feature which allows Advisers to get clients to complete their background and medical information via a secure link in the privacy of their own home (eliminating the need for tele-interviews or paper forms), and we have a raft of features that save Advisers time – like virtual underwriting.

Supporting our people.

Our entire company was able to transfer seamlessly to ‘working from home’ within 24 hours and we continue to comply with all physical distancing rules with minimal impact to underwriting, applications or processing of claims. We’ve been fortunate as a new operation to be able to leverage the same technology that big tech companies like Google and Facebook use. This means all our people can access everything they need to support your clients and our customers remotely. We’re ensuring they’re able to be here for the long-haul too with a number of programs to support and sustain positive mental and physical health.  

If you would like more information on any of these initiatives, feel free to get in contact with us

Lesley Mamelok

Lesley Mamelok

Chief Executive Officer

Scientific ways to make you happy!

Scientific ways to make you happy!

There are a lot of tips and tricks to coping with life right now, but we have waded through them all to bring you the best ways to be happier – backed by science. 

Spend money … on other people.

‘Prosocial spending’ is essentially buying things for other people and it’s been proven to be more effective than buying things for yourself. A 2012 Harvard study gave away some money to participants of the study. Half of them were asked to spend it on buying things for themselves, while the other half was asked to spend the money by buying things for others. They found that the people who spent the money on other people were happier when recalling the purchase than those who had bought something for themselves.

Sleep more.

Sleep seems to be the cure for just about everything, but stick with us on this one, here comes the science… Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

Give gratitude.

Gratitude is the act of being thankful for simple things in our life. Practicing gratitude has been proven to increase happiness. There’s a study from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that suggests that a conscious focus on blessings (in other words: practicing gratitude) have emotional and interpersonal benefits. When practicing gratitude, you may find you spend your day thinking about what you are going to put in your journal so your focus changes to what you can be grateful for. Life changing!

Spend more time with family and friends

Some of you might be thinking “not my family”, but did you know that staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying. Daniel Gilbert, Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, explains it best. “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things, we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” And while you might not be able to physically be with them at this time, video conferencing is the next best thing. 

 

If all else fails, pop on some great music and bop along. Here’s our suggestion…  

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom