Despite an upturn in the mortgage market, some industry experts have raised concerns that the sector could revert to its pre-2007 state, with advisers concentrating on mortgages and deserting protection and general insurance sales.
However, we are seeing a far more entrepreneurial approach.
Although advisers are obliged to spend more time on mortgages, they want to maximise that time and, rather than desert protection and GI, they regard the current market conditions as an opportunity to take their business to the next level, requesting the necessary help and guidance to do so.
We have worked on this with some AR firms within our network, looking at where each wants to be and helping them tailor a business plan to their requirements.
The difficulty is often in recruitment rather than a desire to only write mortgages but we are seeing results where some brokers have worked with us to train people in their businesses to learn new skills and become the much needed experts required.
Businesses need to bring their people on, giving them the chance to wow and show what they can do.
Given the right training and nurturing, the results can be very reward-ing. Some-one who has worked with your firm for a long time time and grown their knowledge every year not only becomes a more valuable member of the team but is often a person with great loyalty because they have been given the opportunity to shine.
We have seen paraplanners become specialist protection advisers, checking that clients are not left with a protection gap.
We have seen administrators for GI become GI sales people because their experience and knowledge of the product equip them to become a good adviser.
Brokers should look after all the needs of their customers – letting a client go online for do-it-yourself GI is a missed opportunity and a big mistake.
So too is leaving a vital piece of the sales process to someone else – it does not work long term for either party.
If a customer suffers a disaster, you want to be the person they contact first.
And you do not want to have to tell them they are not covered when they are already devastated by the turn of events.
A number of brokers I have spoken to say that when a friend has rung them in upsetting circumstances to check the cover they have for a loved one, it has not only brought great relief to both parties to discover they were protected but also provided a trigger for the broker to ensure all their clients were looked after in the same way.
Bucking the trend, we have subsequently experienced a significant increase in our protection and GI sales where firms have asked us to help them grow their businesses for the long term and ensure all their customers are protected.