Karen Rimmer, Head: Distribution at PSG Insure
In previous years, insurance advisers may have been seen as the ‘middleman’. Often, they were regarded as a form of salesman, primarily selling clients insurance policies on their properties and possessions, as well as assisting them with the claims process.
“However, in today’s rapidly evolving world,” explains Karen Rimmer, Head: Distribution at PSG Insure, “advisers are being increasingly called upon to be more than just product specialists. Instead, advisers are now fully entrenching themselves as valuable partners with a unique and agile understanding of their clients’ risks. As the nature and level of risk continues to change throughout a client’s lifetime, advisers play an important role in helping clients mitigate new and emerging risks. They also assist by implementing planning that can help mitigate losses and ultimately ensure that clients maintain optimal financial health through the right kind of cover and sound risk management strategies.”
The right amount and level of cover as your life changes
Ensuring that insurance policies remain relevant to the lifestyles and changing needs of clients as their lives progress is one area in which advisers can have real impact and add immense value.
“For example,” says Rimmer, “the insurance needs of a household that includes children, will change as those children leave school to attend university or move out to live on their own. At this point, the terms of a motor vehicle insurance policy may need to be changed to reflect the change in primary driver, which may lead to changes in a client’s monthly premium.”
When an adviser and client build a relationship that lends itself to regular, open conversations, that adviser is best placed to provide their client with advice. This can include how one can tailor their insurance policies as their life changes over the years.
Information on industry developments
“Another key benefit of maintaining a close relationship with your adviser,” says Rimmer, “is gaining access to the most up-to-date information on how developments in the social, economic, geographical and technological landscapes will affect the level and nature of the cover that you need.
A key example of this is the dramatic upsurge in cybercrime, particularly in South Africa, which has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to opportunistic cybercrime.”
Part of an adviser’s role is to keep abreast of these types of developments and communicate changes and risks to their clients. For business owners who need to invest in cyber insurance, for example, their relationship with an adviser could serve as a crucial source of information and insight for risks that may otherwise not be top of mind.
Expert assistance during the claims process
“The role of advisers is also immensely valuable during the claims process,” says Rimmer. “Being equipped with a comprehensive history of their clients’ policies, advisers are in the best position to assist clients with lodging the claim correctly and navigating the claims process.”
As part of the process, advisers will also be able to assist clients in collating any documents that may need to be submitted. Advisers can also help in streamlining the claims process, ensuring that payouts take place timeously and that any disputes are filed and dealt with as efficiently as possible.
An in-depth understanding of your role in protecting your assets
Policies contain specific clauses with terms and conditions on what needs to be in place in the event that a claim is lodged.
“For example,” says Rimmer, “clients who have taken out insurance against theft or burglaries, will need to ensure that their security systems (such as electric fences) remain fully operational during loadshedding. Helping clients to ensure that their responsibilities are met, is a key area in which advisers will be able to provide practical tools and insights.”
Support in maintaining financial wellness
Advisers make a significant contribution to helping their clients attain optimal financial wellbeing, with insurance functioning as the most effective risk mitigation measure that clients can implement to safeguard their assets. Insurance is also an essential tool to help clients prepare for life’s unforeseen occurrences. Having adequate cover will provide much-needed peace of mind and is one of the key components of sound financial management, both in terms of protecting your personal wealth as well as the financial future of your business.
Advisers in many cases and for many clients, are providers of a service that has the potential to span a number of generations and help individuals and families protect the assets they accumulate over the course of their lifetimes. It therefore comes highly recommended that clients keep their advisers in the loop when major life changes take place or when a question arises.
“Advisers have a wealth of experience and expertise across many different types of portfolios. Their unique and extensive knowledge is an invaluable tool that clients are encouraged to lean on and draw from,” concludes Rimmer.