Leading financial planners have given a host of tips for advisers looking to bridge the protection gap with clients.
In the latest episode of the Money Marketing podcast, this week in association with Royal London, Addidi Wealth financial planner Anna Sofat, Richmond House director Ian Jenkins and Royal London business development manager Vincent O’Connor sounded a bullish note on advisers’ ability to overcome hurdles to protection sales.
Sofat said her firm’s decision to remove charges for protection advice and conduct a comprehensive assessment of protection needs had been key in ensuring clients take up its recommendations for cover.
She says: “We do a financial plan for every single client that comes through the door. A big chunk of that is what you call your security blanket. We systematically go through every single type of protection and what cover the client currently has, from sickness benefits to life cover, to critical illness and income protection. What are the gaps? What should they have?
“I actually dovetail it to their lifestyle and appetite for risk. Some people don’t worry at all about what might happen but when you take them through things they may worry about it.
“We’ve taken literally all hurdles out. We don’t charge for protection at all, even processing it, so clients don’t actually have any reason not to. We don’t take any commissions, so its very much an add value thing. We are doing it because we think they need it, so we are in a strong position to twist their arms a bit if they are reluctant.
“We’ve found its so much easier from an adviser point of view in terms of not being conflicted but also sitting on their side of the table and saying we really do think you need it.”
Jenkins added that linking the value of protection to overall life goals in a financial plan had helped convince some of his clients it was worth paying for.
He said: “It’s very much part of the financial planning process; you can’t really do financial planning without considering people’s protection needs as part of that…Most financial planners these days aren’t just selling products we are working with clients on an ongoing basis, building relationships, and that financial planning involves ensuring people are adequately protected.”
Asking “what if” questions and using case studies had also helped illuminate the need for protection, he added.
O’Connor said that with improved data in recent years, clients can now get a clearer understanding of the potential risks to their health and financial goals and the probability of them incurring, allowing them to better understand the real need for protection.