The three articles in this CPD Points quiz variously address key issues relevant for both advisers and their clients – issues associated with health, lifestyle and healthy living. These articles were previously published in Riskinfo’s Adviser Focus weekly series of issues-based articles…
How Advisers Can Support Both Themselves and Their Customers With Mental Health
TAL’s Head of Mental Health, Glenn Baird, talks to you about the importance of being able to reflect on your personal mental health – and how this in turn can equip you to better help and support those of your clients who may have their own mental health conditions…
Mental health is a journey of learning to understand ourselves and make healthy choices that build resilience and help us live a fulfilling life. It is an incredibly important topic for us all to be aware so we can encourage conversations in an open and accepting environment and help people be well and thrive.
When it comes to financial advisers, understanding the importance of looking after mental health in everyday life can help them recognise the behaviour and communication needed to best support their customers. It’s not always easy to have conversations around sensitive topics and that’s why at TAL we believe it’s important that advisers are equipped with the right skills to adapt to the evolving mental health sector. This can enable advisers to provide their customers with the appropriate support they need, including advising on both the prevention and return to health of customers living with mental health conditions.
Education and awareness are key in helping to create an environment where people feel supported both professionally and personally. Being educated on the behaviours that can improve our mental health is important and having a workplace that is fostering these behaviours is important in seeing these actions become routine. Adviser education on mental health should be focused on raising awareness and providing helpful tools to start the conversation with their customers and create a safe space where they feel supported and understood.
Advisers can be amongst the most trusted people in a customer’s life, and it’s critical that the advice profession continually seeks knowledge on the impact, positive and negative, that mental health can have on overall health and wellbeing, therefore equipping advisers to better manage customers’ needs.
Supporting our advisers both professionally and personally has never been more important. The environment continues to experience rapid change, with advisers facing widespread scrutiny, compliance pressures, higher education demands and reforms.
To help form a supportive network it is important for advisers to create and cultivate an open environment and encourage conversations around mental health. Mental Health does not need to be seen as a weakness. Requesting support from those around us is actually a sign of strength.
There are a number of ways advisers can initiate the conversation and help reassure customers that they are in an environment that is open and supportive. Leading by example and showing empathy are two good starting points. There is strength in being human, sharing our experiences, and encouraging employees and customers to do the same. Together, advisers, employees and their customers can drive change within the mental health space.
How Understanding Preventative Health Can Help You Provide Better Financial Advice
TAL’s Dr Sally Phillips emphasises the value of preventative health measures in this article. Her message reflects the evolving nature of life company narratives, which extend well beyond simply insuring a policy holder and issuing annual renewal notices. Rather, it’s more a shared journey, which also addresses health, lifestyle and healthy living…
At present, Australians are spending well over $180 billion annually on healthcare and only 1.34% of that amount – or just over $2 billion annually – is spent on reducing health risks and preventing conditions each year[i].
Preventative health plays an important role in people’s overall wellbeing, and the rising rate of preventable conditions means the value of prevention programs in enhancing the wellbeing of Australians is more relevant than ever.
At TAL, we look at health holistically, recognising the inter-connectedness of physical health, mental health and financial health.
There’s an opportunity for financial advisers to partner with clients to drive engagement across all three of these pillars and enhance their clients’ health through preventative strategies.
Research commissioned by TAL validated the societal concern that Australians aren’t engaging with their health. While 45% of Australians believe that having a preventative screening test is extremely important to their overall health, the majority of Australians (71%)[ii] admit to not having had one that they believe is relevant to them.
Through TAL Health Sense, we are aiming to encourage Australians to focus on their own health and embrace prevention to achieve long-term wellbeing.
TAL focuses on three key types of prevention, and each plays its own role in contributing to the future health of all Australians:
- Preventing conditions, or primary prevention – as part of TAL’s Health Sense program, clients with a healthy BMI can obtain discounted premiums for reducing their own health risk
- Early detection, or secondary prevention – the Health Sense program also enables clients to obtain a discount on premiums by undergoing any of the government-recommended preventative screening tests every 2 years
- Management of conditions, or tertiary prevention – TAL is working on enabling advisers to cover more clients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, and offering premium reductions for good condition management.
By understanding all of these prevention stages, advisers can have important ongoing discussions with clients about their health. This can ensure that their health is taken care of at every stage of their customer journey, not just at the application stage.
Empowering clients to take control of their health and wellbeing is a positive step in cultivating a deeper, more engaging and trusted relationship with them.
Together with our adviser partners, we want to play an active role in helping our customers embrace preventative health.
Dr Sally Phillips is General Manager – Health Services, TAL
TAL Health Sense is a simple and rewarding program that helps customers take the right health actions and rewards good health across all stages of preventions with discounts on their life insurance premiums linked to screening tests and BMI.
Six Health and Wellbeing Tips While Working From Home
TAL’s widely respected health services leader, Dr Sally Phillips, offers a series of sensible tips for advisers to assist them in successfully navigating and balancing their business and personal commitments during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic event.
In addition to adding value during the COVID-19 crisis, these suggestions hold great relevance for many advisers who may be struggling to map their path through the maze of regulatory reforms that are also impacting Australia’s adviser community in 2020…
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is testing all of us in ways we’ve never faced before. Our day-to-day lives – the way we work, socialise, eat and exercise – our whole health from physical, mental and financial have all been affected.
Financial advisers are needed more than ever as communities navigate the current circumstances and try to make sense of the impact the virus is having on the economy and their financial situation.
There is no doubt that the new normal of working from home, coupled with social distancing measures makes it harder for you to communicate with your clients – especially those seeking reassurance and guidance during these uncertain times. However, there is a unique opportunity to lead through the disruption and have important ongoing conversations with your clients, playing an active role in their mental and financial wellbeing.
We understand this might not be easy and no matter where you find yourself working, we want you to be well. Here are some ways to look after yourself as you adapt to working from home and move to conducting virtual meetings with clients instead of your usual face-to-face catch-ups. Regardless of what’s happening around us, your physical and mental health remains a priority.
Looking After Your Physical Health
- Good ergonomics – Set up a work environment that lets you thrive. Place your screen at eye level, have your laptop on a stable base (not on your lap), adopt a good sitting posture with your back supported and take regular breaks. This is especially important now your meetings are mostly virtual, and you’re no longer meeting clients face-to-face. Download the helpful checklist from SafeWork NSW on how to set-up your work space from home
- Keep active – Regular exercise can help boost your body’s defence against infections as well as enhance your mood. Perhaps spend what was your morning commute going for a walk outside, stand up while talking on the phone or do some stretching to reduce the impact of sitting for too long. You can even try an online exercise class. As a reminder, the World Health Organisation1 recommends we get 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week1. Importantly, we should minimise long periods of sitting whether working from the office or home
- Eat well – A healthy diet filled with fruit and vegetables will help to keep your immune system performing at its best. It may be tempting to snack more often when working from home, but it’s important you make healthy food choices that keep your mood and energy high
Maintaining Your Mental Health
- Stay connected – This will be one of the biggest challenges we face during this time. Social connections play a huge role in our wellbeing, and many of us use our time at work, or on our commute, to have meaningful social connections. Schedule regular meetings with your team and clients via phone or virtual teams. Pick up the phone instead of sending an email or enjoy your morning coffee with your client over Facetime
- Getting in the zone – There are always things that need to be done around the home, and it can be hard to switch off from ‘home’ to ‘work’ mode. Especially if you are sharing your new workspace with partners and kids. Be disciplined and set boundaries for your working environment. Physical boundaries are great (i.e. desk, study), but mental boundaries can be even more important in uncertain times like these. Try to find activities that bring you into the ‘zone’ of work. It might be mindfulness, a daily to-do list, or putting in your headphones – whatever it is that gives you a mental trigger to ‘switch on’ for the workday ahead
- Be kind to yourself and others – More than ever, it’s important to take regular breaks within your working day and practice self-care. Read a book, listen to music or mediate. Thrive Inside is a special meditation program by Smiling Mind designed to keep you mentally well while spending extended periods of time at home
Remember, you’re not in this alone. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by news of the outbreak and how it’s impacting our lives today and into the future. For additional support and a list of national help lines and websites, please click here.
The year ahead is shaping up to be an even more crucial year for advisers. As an organisation that has continuously been a strong advocate for supporting the advice community, TAL will endeavour to support your health and wellbeing, so you are able to continue to provide strong, considerate advice to your clients…
1: World Health Organisation, ‘Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health’.
Dr. Sally Phillips is General Manager Health Services, TAL Life. Sally has a background as a medical doctor and has spent over 20 years in the Insurance industry working in strategic leadership positions covering product design, underwriting, claims and proposition.
She is passionate about challenging the norm and is always looking for innovative ways to empower customers to live their best life through good health. Her role managing the Health Services team at TAL allows her to view health holistically and add value across each of the three key health pillars – physical, mental and financial. Sally’s focus is to ensure that strategically health is at the core of the TAL business and embedded across the entire customer journey.
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When it comes to financial advisers, understanding the importance of looking after mental health in everyday life can help them:CorrectIncorrect
Requesting support from those around us is actually a sign of strength:CorrectIncorrect
What percentage of Australians believe that having a preventative screening test is extremely important to their overall health:CorrectIncorrect
According to Dr Sally Phillips, there is no doubt that the new normal of working from home, coupled with social distancing measures makes it harder for advisers to:CorrectIncorrect
Dr Phillips also says a healthy diet filled with vitamins and proteins will help to keep your immune system performing at its best:CorrectIncorrect