By: Lizl Budhram, Head of Advice at Old Mutual Personal Financial Advice
The evolution of financial advice is centred around targeted solutions where the needs and behaviour of customers take centre stage. For advisers, this presents the opportunity for new ways of doing business that will enable them to improve operational efficiencies and boost their value offering to customers.
This is the view of Lizl Budhram, Head of Advice at Old Mutual Personal Financial Advice, who shared her insights following the recent launch of Old Mutual’s new insurance proposition, which offers a range of personal and business cover solutions.
These solutions are backed by sophisticated systems that provide advisers with a seamless online sales and servicing experience.
According to Budhram, Old Mutual believes its brand new personal cover range is a real game changer and is evidence of how the company’s culture of innovation enables them to respond to the needs of customers, while recognising the important role of financial advisers in the process.
No two insurance needs are the same
“Customers’ needs are rapidly evolving, and as an insurer that holds the customer at the heart of everything we do, we felt it was important to design this solution around them and their ever-changing needs.”
“Today, people are following non-linear career paths, enjoying non-traditional and blended families, as well as re-assessing parenting and gender role norms. Our current reality highlights the need for personal cover that is comprehensive, modular and allows flexibility for our fast changing circumstances. This is exactly what our new proposition offers,” says Budhram.
According to Budhram, the first step in choosing the right cover is understanding customers’ needs, what type of cover will help them to address those needs, and how much they need.
“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. For example, the insurance needs of a single working professional are different to that of a new parent,” she explains. “To help customers establish what’s best for them, financial advisers play a critical role in doing a financial needs analysis to assess what they need, and then work through a solution recommendation process to structure the most appropriate solution with them, based on their needs and budget.”
Building a market-leading personal cover proposition
Budhram says that when Old Mutual designed this proposition, they took their learnings and market insights, coupled those with some of the best product features in the industry, added smart technology and integrated its Rewards offering, giving financial advisers a competitive edge.
“We picked only the best features to include in the products that make up the range so that our customers could enjoy cover that is comprehensive. We then used the insights we got from the extensive market research we conducted to inform the modularity of the proposition so our customers could choose and only pay for the cover they need, making it truly customisable and affordable.
“And because we understand that circumstances, goals and ambitions change, we ensure that customers have the option to add and remove modules or extras as their needs and budget shift.”
At the heart of the new solution lies modularity – giving advisers the ability to help customers build what is relevant to them in terms of cover and any extra benefits they wish to add – and flexibility, meaning cover can be changed as the needs of the customer change.
This is particularly relevant for cash-strapped consumers wanting to reduce their insurance costs amid Covid-19-induced financial strain.
A seamless digital experience
By introducing the new proposition, Old Mutual also acknowledges that consumers have become more technology savvy and easily connect with many providers across multiple devices. They are well informed, expect high quality of personal service and they want access to information at their fingertips, anytime.
Therefore, Old Mutual is introducing new technology that makes doing business with them much easier, quicker, safer and more seamless all the way from quote to claim stage.
This means that customers will now be able to approve their quotes on a mobile phone on the spot, or anywhere else, via USSD – so no more going back and forth to acquire physical signatures. Customers will also have their cover issued quicker than before due to a smart underwriting system that uses reflexive questions, get a copy of their advice record straight after interacting with their financial adviser, and be able to receive their claim pay-out quicker than before – and even quicker still if they have an Old Mutual Money Account.
“While our new range is primarily a digital proposition, it is critical that it blends seamlessly with the physical world and especially the immensely valuable role advisers play in dealing with customers. By integrating a customer’s financial plan with relevant financial education, making simple and modular solutions available and then monitoring their financial behaviour so that you can nudge them back on track – and then rewarding them for doing what they need to do to achieve their financial goals – can greatly improve a customer’s financial well-being.”
Enhanced online capabilities
Budhram explains that the ease of the digital process allows for online needs analysis and a ‘Solution Recommendation’ (next month we bring you more on this), which is set to result in a more informed customer and improved efficiencies.
“Advisers can think of our new proposition as having your practice in your pocket – you are able to access customers’ information anywhere, anytime and on any device. Furthermore, it is easy to use as there is only one dashboard, you can execute New Business (eg. a quote, application or underwriting) and access existing business, such as claims. You are also able to upload documents – so no more faxing, emailing or posting … so think of the time saving here! And finally, you can even track sales and all servicing requests online – which means you are always in the know.”
“Besides the legal requirements to keep a record of all financial advice conversations, online access and storage of documents makes it easier for financial advisers to conduct business on the go and thus improve their own turnaround times and all-round customer service,” she says.
The seamless experience – from the solution recommendation stage, to quote and the issuing of the policy – means that advisers can focus on engaging in meaningful advice conversations with their customers.
Budhram highlights that “we’re introducing systems that will save our advisers’ time by, for example, pre-populating personal information, saving advice records securely in a cloud for them to access easily, and making quick underwriting decisions.”
Funeral policies can now be issued on the same day, and life policies and severe illness policies can be issued much quicker than ever before.
The wide range of benefits ensure that a comprehensive range of customer needs are addressed. “What we have now is essentially cover that evolves with the customer’s ever-changing life needs, ensuring that what matters most to them is always protected,” says Budhram.
“We are confident that Old Mutual’s new insurance proposition is intuitive and intelligent, and it has been designed with the needs of customers and financial advisers in mind.
The dynamic quote process, choice of modular benefits and automated solution recommendation will help advisers to design individually tailored plans that meet customers’ financial needs in one journey,” concludes Budhram.
This article appeared in the November edition of COVER magazine.