Matthew Chapman explains how to turn negative customer perceptions into a positive
The industry has worked very hard over the past decade or so to improve its image. This was facilitated mainly through the reporting and publishing of providers claim statistics that served to increase consumer confidence in our products - as well as a mechanism for holding insurance providers to account.
Nevertheless, despite sustained improvements in the volume of successful claims, many consumers still possess a somewhat negative perception of insurances - and providers.
The fact that people often have negative experiences when claiming on other insurances could be a contributing factor. At client level, there is very little distinction between say critical illness, and their car insurance, for example.
Part of the adviser's role is to acknowledge this potential apprehension and consider how best to allay the client's concerns. Income protection offers the perfect antidote for this.
In this article, I am going to explain how to position IP to your client as the insurance product that, by design, works in their favour rather than the providers.
If the general public do not think insurers want to pay out, how can we turn this negative assumption into an advantage?
Tip Eight = The People's Protection
An income protection policy, established on an own occupation definition, provides comprehensive protection for the client that is actually very difficult for the provider to avoid paying out on.
Think about it, assuming the client has not failed to disclose material facts about their situation or their medical history, the provider is pretty much obligated to pay a replacement income for any illness or injury that stops the policyholder being able to do the job that they are insured for.
There is no complicated illness definition to satisfy. In fact, the criteria to claim is actually quite simple. Are you able to do your job? Yes or no?
Ok, so a doctor's note or supporting evidence may be required, but at this point the provider will have a very hard time saying no to the claim.
Considering that the average income protection claim is between six to eight years, depending on the provider, the client now holds all the cards.
The provider is now thinking, I need to get this client back to work. Every month they remain off, it is costing us more and more money.
So, what do they do?
At this point, the provider is going to throw whatever it can at the policyholder to facilitate getting them back to work. Whether it's rehabilitation services, physiotherapy or counselling. It is in their best interests to get your client back to work and fighting fit again.
If they need to return to work on reduced hours, they will probably offer them a partial benefit to shortfall their loss in earnings just to get them back to work.
Either way, any return to work, even on reduced hours, will cost the provider less.
But you see, at claims stage, the claimant's wellbeing becomes the provider's main priority. At this point, your interests are inextricably aligned to theirs. This will only work in your client's favour.
No other policy that I know of is engineered in this way, as to place the policyholder's welfare as the goal for all parties.
It is for this reason that I refer to income protection as the ‘People's Protection'.
Matthew Chapman is business & practice protection expert at Plus Protect. Find him on LinkedIn.