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Get on risk online

Rod McKie, head of individual protection marketing at Aegon, outlines the benefits for advisers in using product providers’ end-to-end processing systems

Advisers expect fast service so the ability to conduct protection business electronically is vital and providers must offer an end-to-end value service or risk losing business.

In an increasingly on-demand society, speed and simplicity are part of everyday life.

Providers have used technology to allow advisers to e-enable their businesses. A good provider’s service will offer a truly end-to-end online business model where advisers can quote, submit and get their client on risk immediately.

Online services like these can dramatically cut the time and effort involved from illustration through to policy and improves efficiency and cost-effectiveness for advisers.

Advisers want to get a decision and have the policy on risk immediately with a deferred signature. For mortgage-related cases, advisers seek flexibility for policy start dates as it can often take some time for a mortgage to be arranged and completed.

An online service will also offer the flexibility to enter a future start date – giving control to advisers and creating the opportunity to manage the process fully with their client.

What about the client/ adviser relationship – will this be harmed with more advisers moving towards doing business online?

It would appear not. Many advisers believe the internet creates more opportunities for client-facing work as the admin normally associated with processing a policy, becomes faster and easier.

Providers must develop their online offerings to make sure clients get the most efficient service. Improved service helps strengthen relationships by allowing advisers to focus on customers’ needs rather than chasing pipeline business.

The benefits of a streamlined online service are farreaching. Straight-through processing of an application makes the procedure quicker and can help secure a sale with the client.

An online system makes it easier for advisers to do business with providers. There are a number of advantages and they keep the adviser in control.

First, they will cover your clients online immediately, whether standard or non-standard terms are offered so there is no time wasted waiting for a client’s declaration and consent to be processed.

Second, if non-standard terms are offered, they will give you time to discuss them with a client and accept them later online.

You may want to speak to an underwriter at this time to get the full reasons for the non-standard decision.

Finally, you can enter a policy start date later, giving advisers and clients greater flexibility. Mortgage advisers often do not know when a mortgage will be completed so this facility means the start date can be inserted later when your client knows when their mortgage will complete.

Protecting the adviser and the client from the pitfalls of non-disclosure, should also be built into a good online system. Most online on-risk systems have this element covered by getting the customer’s agreement to the application data after the submitted information is received.

This also helps avoid delays in getting the client on risk while waiting for a signature. In the interests of treating customers fairly, it also minimises the possibility of having policies which may be of no value, due to errors on an application form or information not enclosed.

This also makes the process easier for the adviser as the provider will get the client’s signature direct from the customer, taking any hassle out of the process for the adviser.

Technology brings cost and labour savings and admin efficiency, not to mention increased client satisfaction through a slicker service. Far from being the end of the client face-to-face relationship, a good online on-risk system could create more time for the adviser to spend on client visits.

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