Insurance is a serious business, therefore you should receive a professional service - especially when working with an insurance adviser (broker). Opting to work with an individual over going direct to an insurer has myriad benefits, but you must find the right fit. Trust and good rapport are essential.
Applying for insurance can be a lengthy process. You may need multiple meetings with your adviser before your policies are issued, but their service shouldn't end there.
There are various reasons why your adviser should stay in touch. We believe it is not only professional to remain in contact; it's imperative to make you're appropriately insured. Many advisers are keen to get people signed up, but unfortunately, true ongoing support and service can be hard to find.
As a client, you are well within your rights to have high expectations. Here's what you should expect from your insurance adviser.
Regular communication and prompt responses.
During the application process (and once your insurance is complete), your adviser should keep the door open for communication and support. For example, if you have questions about your policy, payment, claims or anything insurance-related, your adviser should be available to help and respond promptly.
They may also stay in touch via occasional email marketing and social media (if they're savvy).
Too often, new clients tell us that they haven't heard from their previous adviser for years. In worst-case scenarios, people are severely under or over-insured, leaving them exposed or with cover not relevant to their needs.
Life happens, things change - and so too do our insurance needs. At a minimum, we check in annually to see if our clients need an insurance review.
You'll need a review if you've had any significant life changes, for example:
Selling or purchasing a property
Having a baby
Ending or starting a marriage or de facto relationship
Selling or acquiring a business
Changing from employment to self-employment
Increase or decrease in income
Changes in health
Regular reviews are also crucial to remove any limitations in your policy, like medical exclusions.
Part of the premium you pay to the insurer is paid to the adviser. This is called servicing commission and covers the adviser's time for annual reviews and claim support.
Yet sometimes, no servicing or support occurs. We often come across clients struggling with claims who have been neglected during what can be a tough time. Some are unable to even contact their adviser when they need to make a claim.
Claims require back and forth with the insurer, forms and specific documents and can be tricky for clients to navigate alone. Your adviser should facilitate the claim and be prepared to go in to bat for you with the insurer if need be.
Advisers must meet specific duties and obligations under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMC Act) and the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (FSLAA).
Anyone who gives financial advice in New Zealand islegally bound to:
1. Treat clients fairly
2. Act with integrity
3. Give suitable financial advice
4. Ensure that the client understands the financial advice
5. Protect client information
6. Have general competence, knowledge and skill
7. Have particular competence, knowledge and skill for product advice
8. Keep competence, knowledge, and skills up-to-date
You should expect absolute professionalism, quality communication, and respect.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified financial professional before making any financial decisions based on your individual circumstances.