Challenge to Reconsider Risk Advice Business Paradigm

US adviser, Ryan Pinney, has outlined to Australian advisers what he believes it will take to achieve success in a 21st Century risk advice business.

Ryan Pinney…has developed a hugely successful US risk advice proposition and business

In a presentation at the 2018 Synchron Conference last week, Pinney offered a challenging statement to his peers that “…pricing, underwriting, products and service don’t matter – at least not in the traditional sense.”

He related a number of stories taken from his personal life that served to inform how he has built a family risk advice business that has secured almost 30,000 new individual client policies in the last twelve months. His comment that pricing, underwriting, products and service don’t matter was made within the context that ‘necessity’ is the true motivator for most consumers and is the ‘simple truth’ behind why they take out life insurance.

…pricing, underwriting, products and service don’t matter

Pinney said that while necessity is the true motivator, it’s rarely the thing that’s discussed first between risk advisers and their client prospects. He referred to the commoditisation of the life insurance industry across the world and suggested there was a difference between what consumers say they want and what they really want.

He said advice businesses should focus on the necessity motivator and combine it with the approach that nothing the adviser can offer matters until the client accepts that the adviser will be able to solve their needs and alleviate their fears and concerns.

Pinney then explained how he has built his business around the necessity motivator and making the narrative all about solving consumer’s needs and alleviating their fears. His ‘how’ revolves around the third of his learnings that ‘practice makes permanent’, rather than ‘practice makes perfect’.

In outlining his ‘practice makes permanent’ mantra, Pinney emphasised the critical importance of repeatable processes for every element of the business within a system that :

  1. Standardises
  2. Systemetises
  3. Automates

Referring to a logical sequence of progression, Pinney told his audience, “Once a task is systematised, you can move to automation. This is where you use technology, things like a CRM system, to automatically complete the tasks that were previously standardised and systematised,” said Pinney, who emphasised that automation is particularly relevant to marketing, client communications, sales meetings, fact finding and annual review processes.

Pinney also stressed the critical importance of continual review of the processes themselves – what he referred to as wash, rinse and repeat: “For me, it’s a reminder that I need to constantly review my processes and look for new ways to effectively market, communicate with our clients and centres of influence, and process paperwork,” he said, adding “It also helps us remember that the process of improving is continuous — we need practice to make our skills permanent, and we must stay diligent and avoid complacency for the best results.”

Summarising his message at the end of his presentation, Pinney outlined the three over-riding principles that have shaped his business:

  1. Pricing, underwriting, products, and service don’t matter…at least not in the traditional sense
  2. What I “do” doesn’t matter until I make it about the consumer
  3. Effective, documented, and repeatable processes are the key to success in today’s rapidly changing insurance and financial services marketplace

While there are differences between the US and Australian advice sectors, Pinney’s broader message can potentially transcend jusridictions and will definitely challenge the more traditional approaches taken by many advisers in how to position and execute their advice proposition. But for Pinney – in his business and in his environment, the approach he has developed and implemented has led to astonishing success.

Click here to find out more about Pinney Insurance.