A referral partner recently asked me to help her client’s son who had sadly suffered a stroke. The son has insurance, so the client took on the job of lodging a claim on behalf of her son.
Her first stop was to contact the bank, with whom she’s been a customer for a number of years, to get the necessary forms. Unfortunately, this simple enough request has turned into a nightmare for the client. She has been on the phone to the bank every second day for the last two weeks. When she calls, she is told the forms will be sent, then nothing happens. So, she calls back and the process is repeated.
Not surprisingly, the client is now at the end of her tether which is why she has come to me for help. Typically, I work with clients from the beginning of their insurance journey, but I felt for this woman and her son and offered to take a look. I am in the business of financial advice and I specialise in insurance, which is ultimately all about claims – how could I not assist getting this moving for her?
The client gave me her permission to contact the insurer on her behalf and forwarded me an email which she said contained the policy details. What I saw in the forwarded email made my blood boil!
The email was sent from a financial planner with one of the Big 4 banks – someone like me who is supposed to look after the client from application through to claim. The bank planner’s email said: “Sorry to hear about what’s happened to your son. Here are your policy numbers. The claims team can be contacted on 1300…” Unbelieveable!!
What makes this situation worse is that the bank planner had been receiving ongoing commissions as payment for their services. The commission is meant to pay for all the services provided by a life insurance specialist, which includes claims handling. It is not just to pay for getting the application processed at the beginning! It’s a perfect example of ‘fee-for-no-service’ that the Royal Commission has exposed in its review of banks and bank-owned financial planners.
It is so important that you confirm with your financial planner that they offer claims management services, before you sign-on for any fees, commissions or other ongoing payment arrangement. Financial advice does not stop when your insurance application is approved – it’s a long-term relationship that should include the lodging of claims and working with the insurer to ensure that your claim is paid. I have made that commitment to my clients – can you expect the same from your planner?
PS – the claim has already been approved and paid. In the same time it took me to step in on the client’s behalf and get the claim paid, the insurer still hadn’t even sent the forms!