Most employee benefit advisers, having undertaken what might seem like an endless number of exams and worked hard to establish a profitable client bank, would be horrified and shocked to find that they may actually be paid less than the average gardener in Bath – £25 per hour.
Indeed, the average premium for an SME client is about £5,000, usually earning the adviser 4 per cent commission (£200) for group life assurance, and 12 per cent commission (£600) for group income protection. However, typically the time spent collating a client report and carrying out a full market review – before the client has even been visited – can take around eight hours. If the employer buys GLA then the adviser is effectively working at a rate of £25 per hour, or £75 an hour if they buy GIP.
So what can advisers do? Use the product providers. Yes, come on, take advantage of what we offer and get us to do the running around for you. Honest, we don’t mind! Promise.
For example, many insurers now have online quote engines – by learning how to use these effectively, not only will you shave off time when you get the initial quote but subsequent quotes should be easier to source.
And when you have landed the business, use us to keep it. A perfect example is GIP. Some insurers have online legal websites containing materials that can be customised – a boon for the SME with no HR person who would otherwise have to pay for solicitor support or outsourced legal service supplier fees, and therefore a nice ‘value add’ which might convince them to stay.
Make the product ‘add-ons’ work for your client as well. SMEs tend to know individual employees more personally and so having an Employee Assistance Programme can help the management team address situations when an employee or their family is evidently struggling with an aspect of life.
Encouraging daily use of these benefits so the client will want to retain it in the long-term means that next year, you will find that they are more open to the concept of these products and it will take you less time to engage them in the process.
Suddenly £200/£600 seems much more attractive and means that you may even be able to afford to employ that gardener. Although, £25 does seem a little steep doesn’t it?
Paul Avis, is sales and marketing director of Canada Life Group