For years, people have said that insurance is sold and not bought. The stigma surrounding the industry and those representing it still hangs thick in our social memory, with old stories of brokers peddling policies purely to earn commission instead of seeking the best needs of their clients. However, in the last decade or so, we saw a shift in motivation for sales, with a breed of financial planners and advisors emerging who chose to put their clients first, not the product providers, insurance houses and investment offices.
Coupled with pandemic-influenced buying habits and near-limitless access to information, we are finding that risk products are being requested more and more, shifting it to a product class that is bought and not sold.
From various reports, research and client feedback, the most significant factor prompting consumers to start exploring different life insurance is their concern for the future, most likely heightened by the pandemic and other global issues.
Interestingly, people are only sometimes using cost as a motivator for their final choices. As financial advisors, we have found that our role has shifted from being gatekeepers of information to being gatekeepers of value. Where clients would typically ask for information about different products, we’re finding that the conversations are shifting more to understanding which products best suit their lifestyles and future goals. This means that cost is only one consideration, if it even features.
In a world of fake news, value is now found in product providers who can fulfil their promises and offer flexibility, integrated value and robust client engagement. Near-instant communication through online chats, social media and platforms like WhatsApp, means clients expect faster and more comprehensive feedback on claims, adjustments, annual changes and product upgrades.
Value is not only found in the end product; greater accessibility through digital buying platforms and underwriting innovations requiring a less invasive process all contribute to the perception of a company that can understand its customers and deliver on its promises.
At the end of the day, this relates to how we choose our risk cover, who we choose to invest with, and how we build our own reputations in the 21st century. Access to information, improved technology, and a recent history of black swan events have impacted how we consume and contribute to our local and global communities. If you feel like you need to rethink your financial plan, please get in touch soon and let’s see how we can enhance your situation.