'It could be the darkest moment of their life': CEO

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It is important the life insurance industry does not get so swept up in the changes that what is really important – the clients – gets neglected, BT Life Insurance head Phil Hay says.

“It’s an interesting industry, interesting times,” Hay tells Wealth Professional. “There is a lot of discussion around the industry in terms of claims experience, lapse rate, and regulatory change. I’ve been in the industry 20 years and there’s never been so much happening.”

But with all the change affecting risk advisers it is important to keep the main focus on clients, says Hay.

“In Australia and New Zealand, we do have underinsurance issues, so how do we continue to educate people to get the cover that they so desperately need?

“I would hate to see it get to the point where distractions impact helping people get financial advice. Sometimes the distractions can take away from what we’re really here to do. We’re 100% behind what FOFA is aiming to do and the discussion around it is needed, but we just have to make sure the discussion doesn’t get the point where people don’t get that critical advice they need.”

Hay commends those advisers who take a “holistic approach” and look out for their clients’ welfare in more ways than just financial advice.  

“When a customer comes to you, it could be one of their darkest moments. If you look at every claimant as a person in their own right, with their own worries and concerns, then it’s not only about paying a cheque. That’s a vital part of it, but it’s not everything.

“You’ve got to take a holistic approach and look at how you can help in other ways. Understanding it could be the darkest moment in their life, we try to simplify everything for the clients.

“A customer or claimant will share some of their most personal information with you, that they don’t share with anyone else, and it’s a privilege and such a responsibility we have.”

BT Life Insurance has just received the highest possible rating for its claims processes and customer service, a claims management analysis programme A* rating from independent assessor Risk Store.