David Child has taken the helm at one of the country's most ambitious adviser firms. Paul Robertson talks to Lifesearch's new managing director
There are, of course, further plans in the pipeline. “We should be looking to widen our proposition to customers. To look to include wills and write policies in trust, and think about general insurance and PMI and all of those complementary things which, talking to customers, could extend our capability,” Child added, somewhat confusingly, since most of Lifesearch’s life business is already written in trust.
On the general insurance front, the company is in the process of finalising a deal with an as yet unnamed third party. Lifesearch will be providing the names of customers, with their agreement, to specialist GI brokers.
“We’re not fulfilling it ourselves; we’re fulfilling it with a partner. But working with that partner to make sure that the customer experience is one that is consistent with our own approach,” Child explained.
The branding of the scheme is undecided. “I think that’s the finer detail of the things that we’re just pulling together with the partner now,” Child said. “We’re getting to a place where in the next couple of weeks, those things will be nailed. This will be announced before Christmas.”
In terms of medical insurance, the firm began selling private medical insurance, fulfilling the policies itself, towards the end of summer and Child is happy with the results. “That’s definitely getting traction with our customer base. And we are ahead of our plans in terms of the volumes that we thought we could sell.”
So we have a protection specialist selling more PMI than it thought and presumably about to do the same with general insurances. What is the secret?
“One of the things that’s very important to us is, when we talk to customers, that it’s an in-depth process,” said Child. “We look to understand what their positions are, what their needs are, what their requirements are and we take the time to talk to them about it. Some don’t realise that we have that capability in terms of also giving them advice on PMI, for example.”
Digging down, and with a mind to picking up tips that other adviser firms could emulate to their and the market’s profit, it becomes clear that a common thread is metrics. Put simply, Lifesearch measures everything it can. Does Child think that this lack in the industry as a whole is to its detriment?
“It’s always helpful for any business internally to be on top of metrics, keeping those metrics up to date and being able to manage the business. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, is a well-known management motto. We pride ourselves on knowing what our customers like, don’t like and where we could improve.”
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