This message from TAL’s Warwick Beard about the importance of the role of the adviser at claim time will be familiar to risk specialist advisers who regularly manage their clients’ claims for them. But his message is equally relevant for any adviser – risk specialist or otherwise – who is involved in helping their clients navigate the claims process. It serves as a timely reminder about the value that all advisers can and do deliver for their clients at a time when their help is needed the most…
When people have their lives disrupted by a significant event and are in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim on their life insurance policy, they want an expert on their side.
There is nobody else in the claims experience that offers the same service that financial advisers do
There is nobody else in the claims experience that offers the same service that financial advisers do, and advisers are in the unique position of deeply understanding their clients’ financial affairs and having the opportunity to make an invaluable impact during their hardest times.
While it is incumbent on advisers to have a strong level of knowledge when it comes to life insurance product definitions, indemnity requirements, financial structures, and ongoing income clauses, having good working relationships with insurers often gives the greatest opportunity to ensure they can play a role in facilitating a smooth claims experience for their clients.
The human interaction between advisers and clients can’t be underestimated
There is no doubt that a key priority for the financial advice industry is to build trusting and long-lasting relationships with clients. Within that, the ability of an adviser to offer emotional guidance through direct communication is extremely valuable to a client navigating an insurance claim.
Providing a human touch and expressing empathy during the course of navigating a claim will go a long way in building a longer-term supportive relationship, and there is an opportunity for advisers to foster a relationship with their clients which is more akin to a partnership through constant and relevant dialogue.
When people are navigating the claims experience, they are often looking to their advisers for care, sensitivity and objectivity, and want to be understood – this is what makes that human touch and an already established level of adviser-client trust so important.
Simple keeping-in-touch practices like updating clients around timings for their next review, letting them know how their claims are progressing, and even setting expectations in initial conversations around how frequently they will be communicating, can help clients enjoy the interaction and advice that comes with one-on-one dealings with an adviser.
Education is paramount during claim time
Advisers’ knowledge and expertise around the claims process means they can assist clients on the claims journey so they are able to focus on their personal matters, such as returning to better health or looking after their family.
At TAL we broaden our support to advisers dealing with claims by providing them with direct contact to our claims consultants. In recent times, when advisers need information or answers, speed is highly valued. Providing this direct access allows for the potential to build relationships and for advisers to feel better supported so that they can fulfil their promises and obligations to clients.
This open communication is a priority for us. By working closely with advisers, we know that quick responses and an accessible claims team are a crucial part of the claims experience. We believe that direct access can only lead to more efficient claims processes and, ultimately, improve client outcomes.
There is also a role for life insurers to support advisers through their education journey. Our education program, TAL Risk Academy, is a significant opportunity for us to contribute to and enhance advisers’ knowledge around claims. Since 2018, 1,875 advisers have participated in our TAL Risk Academy claims education. These courses are continually evolving, and some include real examples and case studies to help advisers enhance their ability to relate and communicate with clients on a deeper level, subsequently helps form trusted relationships for the long-term.
While knowledge is power, it doesn’t mean advisers are expected to do it all themselves. Drawing on the expertise of life insurers and their various specialists will help advisers provide an outstanding claims experience for their clients, while also creating operational efficiencies.
Using knowledge and strong communication to build trust
Advisers can offer invaluable support to their clients by navigating the medical and financial complexities of a claim while also offering emotional support.
Those advisers who understand the product offering and the claims process intimately will deliver the best value to their clients and foster stronger relationships.
By working together in the best interests of clients, advisers and their life insurance partners can make a formidable team, adding exponential value over the life of the client relationship, and particularly during clients’ most difficult times.