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.

Warwick Beard is TAL Retail Claims Liaison Manager


Back to Adviser Focus Main Page…



  1. I commend for Warwick doing an article on, arguably, the MOST important part of an adviser’s job. It is indeed an apt time for reflection on such. It is clear Warwick respects and values advisers. As we all know, the article is as true as it gets about advisers and the claims process. Warwick’s heart is in the right place, I am sure. I wonder, though, if he appreciates the harm that certain ‘other’ people at TAL (and other companies), executives past and current, have wrought upon the adviser force that Warwick holds so dear. Is this a case of the dog’s head not knowing what the tail is doing? I have no beef with Warwick or his claims dept. The TAL claims team are very good – one of the best I’ve found actually – and I wouldn’t say a bad word about them. However . . .

    This whole article is disconnected from the current reality of the adviser’s world, sadly.

    Is Warwick aware, at all, about the savage way advisers had their remuneration cut so as to make their livelihoods and businesses tenuous – bordering on nonviable – at best? This is the income we use to be able to ‘be there’ for clients at claim time.

    Is Warwick aware that the executives at his employer (and other companies) sat idly by while special interest groups and government hacks cut commissions below survival threshold and DOUBLED the claw-back period for our honestly earned remuneration to TWO whole years?!

    Did the life company execs raise a finger to stop this travesty on advisers? NO! It suits the companies perfectly – or so they thought. Now their advisers are deserting THEM in a reversal of fortunes. The advisers have no other option in most cases, leaving the industry is their only option thanks to the myopic execs at the companies who ‘could’ have done more – something/anything – but didn’t, to save them.

    Have any of the executives taken pay cuts or handed back some of their pay at the 18 month mark after it was earned to balance business going off the books? EVERYONE connected to a life company is on commission, EVERYONE. Some employees simply have their commission called ‘wages’ or ‘salary’ or ‘bonuses’ – ALL of this is a slice of premium income coming through the front doors ONLY due to personal exertion by advisers. Seems advisers are the only ones who can have this ‘commission’ taken back if business goes off the books – none of the other entities are asked to do so.

    As good as Warwick is and as true as his intentions may indeed be, I can’t take any of this seriously knowing what the executive branch of TAL and other life companies FAILED to do when THEIR advisers needed them most. Hypocritical is the very kindest work I can summon in this case. Of course, one HAS to ask WHY on earth the life company execs would fail to support their advisers. The ONLY answer that has survived through time is the one that says they wanted to see many LESS advisers (so less commission paid out) and MORE roboadvice in the future to replace advisers. I am completely open to being corrected in this if anyone, including the execs (who I know read these pages, so don’t hide), can explain where I and most other thinking advisers, are wrong. Please tell us what you did to attempt to stop the commission cuts and clawback period increase. EVERY risk adviser wants to know this! ALSO, what are your plans, if any, to reverse this untenable situation and start building the adviser force again?

    Lastly, and again with much respect to Warwick, who does he think will be there at claim time for our clients when low commissions and longer charge-back periods force 90%+ of the current risk advisers out of the industry? Don’t think it will happen? It will and it is, right now the wheels are turning and should be complete by EOFY 2027 latest. Would YOU stay with an employer or in an industry that had just reduced YOUR pay by 40%++ and said to you that they can take it back at a moments notice anywhere in the next 2 years after you’ve used it to pay for food, mortgage, staff wages and business expenses? Add to that the ludicrous compliance burden keeping us from being face to face and writing new business and, well, join the dots, we’ve seen the adviser suicides . . . the future for risk advisers is far too sad to contemplate.

Comments are closed.