A ‘new mindset’ for advisers in a post-pandemic future.

A ‘new mindset’ for advisers in a post-pandemic future.

The world has irreversibly changed, and we’re not done yet. However, if we look at broad consumer trends and understand how they can be applied to our industry we can better navigate the disruption and evolve – for the better.

We looked at consumer reports from McKinsey, KPMG, and The World Economic Forum and identified some similar trends across the board.

 

Customers want Australian businesses to get back to basics – but with modern delivery.

When Australian consumers talk about basics, they’re talking about values. Values like trust, transparency, loyalty and security. These were consistently raised by customers across Financial Services according to a KPMG report* on customer experience expectations. One of the biggest shifts was in the demand for ‘Integrity’ (we’re not making this up!) where consumers are seeking increased transparency in terms of communication especially where fees are concerned. You can understand in times of uncertainty, people want to know where they stand. Open and honest communication, as well as anticipating customers’ questions and needs (before they have to get on the phone and ask) will not be something that goes away.

While ‘the basics’ are actually code for ‘values-based customer-centric decisions and approaches’, one other area that is permanently transforming is how the basics are delivered.

A recent report by BT Global Services showed that two-thirds of customers want to be able to use video chat to discuss a financial service product with an Adviser and 61% are interested in using video chat to discuss the renewal of an insurance policy or claim^.

 

Find ways to make digital more human.

While we are craving connection and a more human experience, we need to find a way to deliver this via digital channels. As mentioned, video chat is proving a very effective tool to support efficient connectivity and the smart companies are investing in training their people how to deliver warmth and professionalism via Zoom. But there are other ways.

One thing good marketers do is understand the world their customer inhabit. Examples of this are setting up Google Alerts on keywords that could be client’s businesses, their home suburbs, their favorite pastimes – why? So you can either be on the front-foot with news that changes their world (and perhaps insurance needs) or be better informed when you speak to them.

 

How to deliver more, with less.

Something has to give. You still only have 24 hours in a day – and some of those you need to sleep. The best place to find those extra hours is through digital transformation with a focus on operational efficiency. We have written a lot about this (see below) but never has this been more critical to delivering on consumer expectations in this new world we’re all living in.

 

Additional content on operational efficiency.

Sources

Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

The future of life and insurance in Australia: Adviser workbook.

The future of life and insurance in Australia: Adviser workbook.

When we published our research paper on the future earlier this year, we had no idea how quickly everything would change as a result of COVID-19. But the truth is, the trends we predicted continue to influence our industry unabated. In many cases COVID-19 has, in fact, just accelerated change. Here we outline what these broad trends mean for you – the Advice industry, and we unpack what you can do now to make the most of the change and not get left behind. If there is one thing that is always true it’s that change in inevitable.

 

Trend 1: Client engagement and advice delivery will align to evolving demographics and needs.

To date, most of your clients have probably been baby boomers. Now gen X, Y and Gen Z are likely to become the predominant forces within consumer markets. These generations grew up with the internet and have different expectations. COVID-19 has actually accelerated these preferences and embedded them as part of BAU. So, here’s your checklist…

  1. Do you have video conferencing? And do you know how to present online?
  2. Do you know how to leverage personalised data to create a bespoke pitch to your potential client?
  3. What options do you have for new business to get in touch or renew? Chat, email, phone, Calendly, a variety of social media channels?
  4. What is your social media presence like? Are you engaging fans and followers and building an online reputation?
  5. What happens when price and product aren’t the only considerations? How will you manage clients who are interested in understanding the ethics of all companies you are recommending?
  6. What do you stand for? We are in an era of social movements like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter – your stance on social issues may come into play… is your business carbon neutral (for example).  

Trend 2: The market will fracture as new client-centric business models emerge.

In order to continue to justify commissions or even a fee for services, Advisers will need to demonstrate the value of their advice and the bespoke personalisation of it. You can’t provide personalised advice without an in-depth understanding of your client and their goals. So how do you do this while still maintaining a margin through a discovery or ‘getting to know you’ phase? Here are some things to think about…

  1. How automated are your questionnaires and on-boarding processes? Can you connect via an Application Programming Interface (API) to other sources to create unique offerings and easy applications? Eg: Facebook, LinkedIn, health records.
  2. Have you got a one-size-fits-all approach to customer engagement? Or do you have packages based on understanding key requirements of segmented audiences and customers?

Trend 3: Fee transparency and versatility will be vital for fostering client trust.

Commission or not, clients want transparency. Not only in the price they’re paying and why, but also what the Adviser is being paid – and why…

  1. Do you have a flexible fee structure or are you completely reliant on commissions? Are you charging for time or expertise? And, can you clearly articulate the value you add?
  2. How do you demonstrate ongoing value for money? And how do you ensure you have ‘clients for life’.

Trend 4: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies will enable advisers to deliver advice and insurance more effectively.

  1. What does your business look like when all the number crunching, cost-saving and goal planning recommendations are so quick and easy you can no longer charge purely for them?
  2. What opportunities does AI give you to create even more bespoke offerings?
  3. Do you have a robust technology backbone with an API so you can securely ‘plug and play’ with other companies to create new offerings?

Trend 5: The emergence of ‘new age’ advisers will see an inter-generational adviser workforce share skills, knowledge and experience.

  1. What is the diversity of ages, backgrounds and skills across your business like? Or how do you tap into diversity within the community?  
  2. What do you and your brand stand for? Do you have purpose beyond profit?
  3. How does your business share ideas and promote innovation?
Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

How do we talk about life insurance now?

How do we talk about life insurance now?

One of the questions we’ve been asked by a lot of Advisers is, how do we talk about life insurance now? Has it changed as a result of COVID-19?

Well, yes. Significantly.

The role of Life Insurance hasn’t changed but many people are finding it much easier to imagine a world where they need it. The reality of the bushfires (which claimed 26 lives) and COVID-19 (which is at 102 and counting) may be easy to dismiss statistically, but the media focus should at least get more people thinking about the possibility of tragedy happening to them. All too often, the GoFundMe cases could have been avoided if they had planned ahead.

But here’s where we do need to do more education and Insurers have a role to play. Life Insurance isn’t just about protecting your life, it’s also about protecting your lifestyle. Despite 1.6 million Australians losing their income as a result of COVID-19 (according to the ABS) many people are still unaware of the range of insurance products that protect you for job loss, or job loss as a result of injury or illness. For example, Income Insurance can protect you if you were unable to work due to illness or injury. Recovering from a loss of income while also having additional medical bills would be terrible for your average Australian, who’s household debt is around 200% of income. In fact, we have the highest household debt of any country in the world.

Clients now know the importance of being prepared.

The key point you should discuss with clients around life insurance is: We now know firsthand how scary it is to not be prepared. When COVID-19 hit and you couldn’t get the food supplies you needed, or toilet paper, or see loved ones. When you couldn’t travel, or have freedom of movement, and were confined to one space. How did that make you feel? When you didn’t have the resources to comfort your family, to protect them. What was that like?

Being confined, being restricted, being limited in choice, not having the right resources. These are not things limited to COVID-19. Ask anyone who has had to deal with the loss of loved one, or care for someone permanently disabled, and they will be able to tell you about all these things.

These are the conversations we need to have with clients. This is how we’re going to be able to protect them.

Time to think.

The other poignant consequence of COVID-19 is that the time we have spent at home has given many of us a lot of time to think about what truly matters. The things that we value and want to protect are much more in focus now than ever before. And if nothing else, that’s at least worth having a conversation about.   

Emilie Chell

Emilie Chell

General Manager, Marketing & Customer Experience

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

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!

April 1 changes to Integrity’s retail products summarised.

April 1 changes to Integrity’s retail products summarised.

In line with the removal of Agreed Value from our Income Insurance product, we also wanted to take the opportunity to make some other changes based on your feedback. Please find below a summary of these changes.

Income Insurance.

  • Removal of Agreed Value – this change aligns Income Insurance to the sustainability measures announced by APRA in early December 2019. Although no longer on sale, any Agreed Value cover will be guaranteed renewable and can be updated at any time in the future (subject to a few conditions).
  • Addition of a new Waiting Period: 1 Year – This change aligns the Waiting Period on Retail with the Five+ Benefit Period providing advisers and their clients complimentary product offerings. We now have 30, 60 90 days, 1 and 2 year waiting periods across all Income Insurance.

TPD.

  • Increase to maximum Cover Amount to $5m – this is in response to direct adviser feedback. You asked for it, we delivered! TPD cover amounts are min $50k – max $5m
  • Aligning definitions to make things easier to understand – the definition of ‘Activities of Daily Living’ now includes the addition of a 6th limb ‘using the shower or bath to bathe’. Now our ADL definition is the same across Retail and Group.

Care Support Package.

  • We have increased the timeframe for submission of reimbursements – where previously this was 30 days we are now allowing claimants more time to lodge their claim and have extended this to 90 days.

Policies owned by Diversa via Integrity’s Here for You Super Plan.

  • Introduction of ability to pay premiums on a monthly basis in the form of direct debit – we have introduced the ability to pay premiums on a monthly basis in the form of direct debit. This change is in response to adviser feedback and will allow members of the Super Plan to make monthly contributions to pay their premiums. 

The final note.

Pssst…and just so you know… we have also extended our 8% Lifetime Discount offer to 30 April 2020 to give you a bit more time to take up this great offer.

 

William Rogers

William Rogers

Head of Retail Product

Operational readiness. Ready or not?

Operational readiness. Ready or not?

When we published our research paper two months ago on the “future” of the industry, we pointed to the need for Advisers to be thinking about the cloud from an operational readiness perspective. Little did we know that the future was coming a lot sooner than anyone predicted, although for other reasons.

Now that business everywhere are grappling with how to run ‘business as usual’ when it’s anything but usual, we’ve got some lessons from having ‘been there done that’ that may prioritise your efforts.

Working from anywhere, on any device.

From the beginning, our guiding principle was to ensure that all of our people, from claims assessors to underwriters, to customer care, to our finance and back-office teams were able to access anything (and everything) from the cloud. This means all of our files, templates, business applications are accessible from any secure location. We use a tool called Okta which means that employees don’t have to sign into multiple accounts with multiple usernames and passwords which can be a drawback with a cloud-based approach. So whether our people are in the office or working from home – our service and delivery is unchanged.

The customer interface.  

It’s not just our back-end technology that supports remote working. Our award-winning Adviser portal is available 24/7 and works on just about any device. Originally, this was built to provide Advisers with the convenience to be able to do pre-assessments and applications with a client in their own home, or out and about on the road, but now it’s obviously incredible useful for Advisers who find themselves working from home.

Beyond this though, every employee has a Zoom account and access to Microsoft teams. This means that all employees are able to use video conferencing to connect to clients, customer, partners, suppliers, Advisers and each other. It’s made our operations during COVID-19 all the more seamless.

People, get ready.

All the technology in the world doesn’t come to much if people aren’t comfortable, capable, and confident to use it. Ahead of the pandemic, we supported a wide range of flexible work arrangements so when we were asked to socially isolate, employees could literally pick up their laptops within minutes and be out the door, knowing everything was going to work.

As life continues like this, we’re continuing to educate our people with tips to make life a little easier. For example how to scan documents on your iPhone or iPad using the Notes app, or how to use your TV as a computer monitor screen. The importance of on-going training and education to embed new ways of working is critical.

The other benefit of getting your team to flourish in a cloud-based environment is that it just gives you more options to connect.

We’ve set up a virtual lunchroom where daily from 12-1 you can logon and enjoy a break with your colleagues to keep connections going and instill a sense of routine.

Whether it’s COVID-19, or the (no doubt) increase in remote working we will see in the coming year, or just customer expectations that they should be able to connect to your business and your services from anywhere on any device – it’s high time to examine your operations and maybe get your head in the clouds.

As always, if you have any questions on any of this, we’re here to help.

Andy Todd

Andy Todd

General Manager, Information & Technology