Running an advice business has never been easy – and perhaps today it’s more challenging than ever.

But as we’ve discussed multiple times before, where are challenges there are also opportunities. Advisers are being compelled – in some cases by law, in others due to economic realities of the industry – to articulate and demonstrate their true value in the community.

One key issue that comes up when examining the value of advice is insurance, and how advisers can assist their clients in finding the right cover for them. But how do you connect with clients and simultaneously support them while making them face some harsh realities?

The chief retail insurance officer at AIA Australia, Pina Sciarrone, has three key ideas to consider:

Paint a picture

“An adviser’s role,” she says, “and it’s an extremely important role, is to consider a person’s individual circumstances, in terms of their debt levels, income levels and goals. What they then need to do is say, ‘Let’s paint a picture. And if that picture doesn’t look so great, let’s paint another picture where you and your family are protected.’”

The positive framing (excuse the pun) there is key: it’s about getting a client to consider their current circumstances, and then designing a way for them to achieve a better result.

Be a storyteller

In the course of doing business, Pina believes advisers “generate their own stories.”

“They’ve actually developed this amazing library,” she says, “and they can use those success stories with their new and existing clients. There’s such a power in doing that – for example, in the event you were to have something like cancer or a heart attack, if something affected your income, what would happen? You can then identify the gaps where insurance might come into play.”

The positive message here is that by demonstrating through past experiences that these matters don’t need to be faced with dread and uncertainty, advisers are better able to assist clients in finding the cover they need.

Long-haul partnership

“When it comes to claim time,” Pina says, “the role of the adviser is so important. Not only can they assist the client in navigating the paperwork, but with income protection, for example, it’s an ongoing claim payment. There’s ongoing requirements that must be met to continue to pay that income on a monthly basis.”

She continues: “Having an adviser to support them throughout that process is critical. My main tip is to explain what the process is, what the waiting period is, explain what’s required for an insurance company to keep paying the benefit and what the process is for that.”

Wrapping it up

The key message Pina has is that advisers are critical for clients who are potentially afraid and uncertain about their (and their families’) future. By being there and explaining what needs to be done, they’re making a massive difference in their clients’ lives.

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