Giving you the right track to run on


06 February 2014

                                   ADDING VALUE TO YOUR RISK ADVICE PROCESS

As we approach a brave new dawn in the financial planning sector and FOFA lurks on the ever moving horizon, phrases such as “quality of service”, “value proposition”, “value of advice” and “fee for service” are uppermost in most financial planners’ minds, but more often than not the risk adviser is perceived as being a separate entity with its head in the sand continuing to knock out a stream of commission based transactions.

The time to change this perception has arrived for the professional risk adviser. The need for more appropriate levels of insurance cover on the part of our clients has never been greater, and therefore the opportunity for quality risk advisers has also never been greater. Advisers need to be quite clear on the value they represent to their clients in the personal protection space, and when this clarity is present, then the client will perceive the real value being offered by the risk adviser. It is important to appreciate that, in this context, value is perceived not specified.
In order to establish your points of differentiation and separate yourself from the pack as a quality risk adviser, there are a number of specific steps you can and should be taking during the initial advice process and, in turn, the implementation of these steps will lead to some very beneficial outcomes for both your clients and yourselves as advisers.


● Appropriate positioning of personal protection within the context of a financial plan early in the process – too many financial planners introduce protection as an ‘add-on’ or afterthought to investment strategies instead of making sure the client understands why protection needs to be the first cab off the rank in a wealth creator’s financial plan. After all, we clearly need to ensure that our clients’ ongoing income is secured before we start making plans with it on an ongoing basis – don’t we?
● Asking user friendly questions ( i.e. questions that are easy for the client to answer) on the Fact Find to facilitate the client verbalising their objectives – focus on the client’s WANTS rather than their needs. Once the client has told us what ‘financial outcomes’ they would want in certain ‘what if’ situations, then we are perfectly placed to make recommendations of types and levels of cover that are specifically designed to achieve those financial outcomes the client has told us they want.  
● Managing clients’ expectations re. the underwriting process – we need to identify any potential underwriting ‘red flags’ as early in the process as possible (pre application underwriting) and, where necessary, prepare the client for the worst case scenario; then we can present any alternate terms as:- “Great News! We CAN get you some cover!”
● Holding your client’s hand throughout the underwriting process – it is so important to be PROACTIVE not reactive during the underwriting process and thereby to keep in regular contact with your client
● Meeting with your client face to face once the policy documents have been issued – the ‘policy explanation meeting’ is the shortest and yet the most commercially valuable meeting of the whole initial advice process
● Asking for and getting referrals – if properly positioned along the way, this should be a realistic expectation on the part of the adviser and the client.


● From the outset the client is aware of the importance of protection in his/her financial plan
● The client appreciates your professionalism right up front
● All your recommendations are based solely on what the client has told you they WANT (re. financial outcomes in ‘what if’ situations) N.B. Appropriateness of Advice
● Because of the previous outcome, the ONLY barrier to implementing your recommendations is the cost
● The client gets a clear message that you are there to act in his /her best interests and to facilitate/accelerate the completion of business to the best of your ability
● Business becomes a NATURAL CONSEQUENCE of your process
● The client enjoys a QUALITY EXPERIENCE rather than experiencing a transaction
● REFERRALS become a natural consequence of business
● As with any other professional, the client is perfectly happy to pay a fair price for quality service
● You, the adviser, become totally comfortable with the VALUE PROPOSITION you are offering your clients

Chris Unwin became a life insurance broker in 1978 and worked in London until coming to Australia in 1989.He became a specialist risk adviser in the mid 1990s as well as performing a role as training director for a large dealer group.

In 2004, with the advent of FSR, Chris perceived there was a huge gap in soft/engagement skills on the part of advisers who had joined the industry in the previous 10 years, not to mention more experienced advisers who had in the most part not received any ongoing training in this space since the life companies stopped offering it in the mid 1990s.  

Over the last 7 years Chris has presented to thousands of advisers at PD Days and Conferences and most frequently conducted half day and full day Workshops, all of which focus on providing advisers with a methodology and structured process in the risk advice space. He is also doing more and more one on one coaching/mentoring with individual advisers. The primary objective of any session that Chris runs is to provide advisers with a host of simple, practical and usable tools/ideas/concepts which can be taken away and used immediately to enhance the client engagement process and thereby add revenue to any business.

For more information on any of Chris’ offerings including the ideas expressed in the above article, please visit Chris’ website or contact Chris direct at [email protected] or on 0417 281 034. 


Published in Risk Info Magazine May, 2012