What are you paying for?

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You might have noticed there have been a few reports in the media (again) about life insurance commissions. As you know, I’m extremely proud of the work the Monarch team does and firmly believe in the role financial advice plays in helping people secure their financial future. Which is why I felt it was important to outline just some of the ways we add value to our clients…

What we do – Build a strategy

Our role is not simply to get quotes and help our clients to complete their insurance applications. We look at the bigger picture – what are the long-term financial goals at stake for this person? What level of risk are they prepared to take to reach those goals? What is their current lifestyle? All these things are used to build a financial plan that takes into account more than just a client’s wealth protection needs.

Where’s the value?

If you were asked to specify the total insurance benefit you would like your family to receive if you should pass away, could you do it? What about whether it’s better to hold your insurance inside or outside super? And how likely is it that your life insurance needs will remain exactly the same over the next, say, twenty years?

These are just some of the elements we use to build a financial plan for our clients. Note that we call it a plan, because it is designed to change and evolve over time.

What we do – Research the market

Think about the last time you bought a car. Did you just walk into the dealership and buy the first car you saw on the lot? Highly unlikely. You probably started with a list of features that you wanted – hatch/sedan, 4WD, number of seats/doors, cost, warranty, etc, then did some online research to narrow down the makes and models that suited your list.

The same goes for our process of selecting an insurance product for our clients. There is an amazing variety of life insurance products on the market, all with their own unique features and benefits. We start by building a list of our clients’ needs, then match this to the benefits and features that are on offer, weighing up the pros and cons of each.

Where’s the value?

Aside from giving our clients a recommendation based on their own unique needs, our research saves them an extraordinary amount of time. To do your own due diligence you would need to read (and understand) the PDS for every product on the market and then make a list to compare the benefits of each product. The average length of an insurance PDS is 50 pages. There are at least 20 different insurance providers in the Australian market. That’s a lot of reading, not to mention the fact that it’s pretty dry stuff!

What we do – Quotes and price comparisons

Just like car and home insurance, there is no ‘one-price-fits-all’ for life insurance. Your age, gender, medical history, job and hobbies all play a part in assessing how much you’ll pay. To get a price on your insurance, you need to request a quote.

Our experience helps us narrow down the search before we start completing quotes for our clients, comparing the cost against the benefits available and what we feel will be the most appropriate options for each individual client. Then, we utilise software that allows us to produce individualised quotes that give you an accurate picture of the price you will pay for your cover, and how each policy stacks up against the other.

Where’s the value?

The cheapest quote does not necessarily equate to the best cover for your needs. Life insurance is a complex product, and finding a policy is not as simple as just comparing one dollar-figure to another. There are numerous ways to structure your premium payments, plus add-ons or terms that can increase or reduce the cost (eg: how many years you want your income protection benefit to last). We work within this complexity every day, so our clients know they’re getting genuine value for money and no empty promises from insurers.

What we do – Help with claims

If you’ve ever been through an insurance claim, even just for a car accident, you’ll know that there’s more than just a simple phone call involved. But when you have an adviser working on your behalf, there isn’t too much more you need to do. We take the lead and make the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible. Because we genuinely care about our clients.

Where’s the value?

There’s a saying in our industry that you never really know the value of life insurance until you have to make a claim. And that’s true, but it’s also true of the value of dedicated life insurance advice. When something bad happens, you want to know that there is someone there to take care of you. Someone who has your back, who can deal with all the paperwork and the negotiating and finer details, so you can get on with putting yourself and your life back together.

As I said, these are only some of the ways we deliver value to our clients. There’s also lodging applications, working with underwriting, ongoing reviews, policy administration and reviewing your strategy when things change (like new legislation or better medical definitions). How much are you prepared to pay for this level of peace of mind?


About the Author:

Tatiana has over 15 years experience within Financial Services with the last 7 years focussed on Life Risk. Tatiana has held Senior roles with a number of organisations such as Macquarie, AMP and OnePath prior to starting Monarch Advisory Group. Tatiana holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Services and is completing the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) through the FPA (Financial Planning Association). Tatiana is also a member of the FPA, which is the highest professional body for the Financial Planning industry. Tatiana is very approachable and passionate about ensuring her friends, family and clients are properly protected in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong.

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