The best interests of career professional clients are served when specialist risk advisers deliver tailored solutions offered by specialist insurers, according to PPS Mutual’s Head of Proposition, Matthew Pilcher

Pilcher suggests there are three ‘specialist’ ingredients included in his recipe for a successful service offer. This recipe starts with the client and works back to the insurer:

The client

PPS Mutual’s target market consists of career professionals, most of whom work within the medical, industrial, commercial and legal professions. According to Pilcher, a significant proportion of these career professionals share a number of attributes and characteristics, including:

  • Development of complex financial needs
  • Accumulation of a variety of assets, the greatest of which is their future income stream
  • Holding and managing much higher levels of financial liabilities than the average consumer

In seeking to address the issues manifest in these commonly-held traits, Pilcher says career professionals like to deal with fellow career professionals, which leads to consideration of the specialist risk adviser:

The adviser

In a recent article appearing on the PPS Mutual website, Pilcher outlines an alternative view of the manner in which an adviser delivers value to a client. He argues advice and advised insurance cover should be considered an asset, rather than a necessary expense (click here to read the article). This perspective, he says, can easily be applied when adding value for professional clients such as doctors, lawyers or accountants, due to the high income levels they will generate over the course of their career and the need to create a ‘value-add’ to protect the millions of dollars of earnings they will accrue.

Within this context, Pilcher says there are three key areas in which a financial adviser can increase the value they add for their clients:

Choosing appropriate cover

They can advise clients on the appropriate amount of cover, specific to an individual’s needs. Most people, even highly educated professionals, have low awareness concerning the correct amount of insurance that they need.

Ongoing renewal of policies

They have the expertise to challenge insurers to get the best outcome for their clients and will make sure that the insurance is reviewed on an ongoing basis to reflect a client’s current circumstances and ensure it remains appropriate.

Claim time

They can help with the stress involved with claims, as borne out by APRA’s Life Insurance Claims and Disputes Statistics, which reveal that the proportion of claims paid for individual covers are far higher for claimants with an adviser than for non-advised claims.

Pilcher maintains that these specialist career professionals are best served by risk advisers who – in turn – specialise in serving the life insurance and other financial advice needs of their specialist professional clients.

He says PPS Mutual has accredited approximately 700 such advisers around the country to distribute its product range, each of whom has been required to undergo accreditation training and pass testing to become eligible. He adds each of its accredited advisers must have an established business and already work with professional clients.

This brings us to the insurer…

The insurer

PPS Mutual differentiates its proposition to the market in three areas:

  • Its mutual life insurance company structure, which is owned by its policy holders.
  • Its niche market focus – offering product solutions for career professionals, many of whom reside within the medical, legal and accounting professions.
  • Offering its products exclusively via an eligible group of accredited advice professionals, as outlined above.

Just as Pilcher argues that advisers dedicated to serving career professionals deliver the best outcome for their clients, so the argument goes that the product solutions being made available to this client group should also be tailored and fit for purpose.

In the case of PPS Mutual, Pilcher says all the focus of his business, like the advisers who distribute its products, is dedicated to providing the best, most appropriate solution for career professionals. He says PPS Mutual is more likely to not only deliver tailored product solutions as its main product agenda, but also deliver more specialised new business, underwriting, claims and adviser service propositions, all of which are configured around serving this specific target niche of career professionals.

PPS Mutual has been active in the retail advised life insurance sector for some years now but is still regarded as one of the sector’s ‘new players’, together with other insurers and providers including NEOS Life, Integrity Life and the recently-returned MetLife Australia.

Each of these new players is experiencing success and engagement with Australia’s adviser community to varying degrees and across their own points of differentiation. In the case of PPS Mutual, as articulated here by Matthew Pilcher, one of his firm’s strongest messages is about specialisation along each point of the value chain – from the insurer and its product and underlying support services, to the specialist adviser and ultimately for the benefit of their target market of career professionals.

Riskinfo will continue to report the news and initiatives released by PPS Mutual and other providers as they develop and refine their own value propositions for advisers and the clients they share.

Matthew Pilcher is Head of Proposition at PPS Mutual…

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