Life and risk big win despite no adviser model

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Advisers and planners watch out: an insurer who won’t use referrals in its business model has just been revealed as the risk and life insurer Australian’s were most satisfied with last year.

Real Insurance took home the risk and life insurer of the year award at the Roy Morgan banking and finance satisfaction awards last week, which were judged by more than 50,000 consumers and 22,000 business decision-makers throughout 2013.

The success and future direction of the company will put it more and more in competition with financial advisers and planners, Brenard Grobler, head of product and partnerships at Hollard (of which Real Insurance is a brand) told Wealth Professional.

By targeting the lower to medium underinsured market through direct advertising, Grobler said Real Insurance has a customer base that perhaps advisers haven’t focused on until now.

“Financial advisers will see us as a competition because we are approaching some of their target market,” he said. “We have a different model to what planners are used to.”

Grobler believes we are seeing a trend towards customers who want to go directly to a life insurer and cut out the middle man, especially come claim time, which can be highly sensitive.

This trend is going to become more pronounced in the future, as people who have never been exposed to life and risk insurance become more aware of it due to direct marketing campaigns like that of Real Insurance, said Grobler.

He puts the company’s success at the awards down to great customer service.

“We do small things such as sending out flowers to the beneficiary. I think it’s that personal touch that shows we’re prepared to go the extra mile,” he said. “We make sure the customer is first and foremost in our minds.”

Michele Levine, the CEO of Roy Morgan Research, said the 2013 results in the banking and finance satisfaction awards reflect that businesses, especially those in the managed funds and insurance industry, have increased their focus on customer satisfaction and how they rate relative to competitors.

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  • The Naked adviser on 25/02/2014 7:36:45 PM

    I would like to thank Real for making my job easier. Picked up 3 clients this month who had policies with them. It wasn't such a hard sell for them to see the value in paying a little more for personalized service and a quality product. They service the basic just like an Industry Super Fund, better something than nothing I suppose. Send cancellation letters to Baulkan Hills with a tracking Number.

  • Ken Ferguson on 25/02/2014 5:01:42 PM

    Not only do we manage the claim including assisting to complete the claim forms, attend the funeral (if this is the case),
    send flowers but also deliver the cheque to the beneficiary by hand.
    We also underwrite before the cover is in place so problems do not occur at claim time as may be the case if non disclosure was an issue?

  • alleycat on 25/02/2014 4:37:05 PM

    So no advice, no SOA's, no basis for cover, all influenced by the cheapest price.
    Good luck !!
    Wait until the claims start rolling in. Non disclosure, under-insurance, the delays in settling claims.
    Send all the flowers you like but when the beneficiaries have to fight to receive the insurance proceeds, "Real" will need to do more than send flowers.
    The obvious adviser response should be, "you get what you pay for".

  • Mark Thompson on 25/02/2014 3:36:37 PM

    If I may paraphrase Rumsfeld, 'there are things we know; there are things that we don't know and there are things we that we don't know that we don't know'. If I may now quote from the article, 'we are seeing a trend towards customers who want to go directly to a life insurer and cut out the middle man, especially come claim time, which can be highly sensitive'. You are kidding me Grobler. All I can say is, God help the ill informed when it comes to a disputed claim. They won't know what's hit them.

  • SB on 25/02/2014 3:25:01 PM

    If I provide financial advice, and they provide an insurance product why would we be in competition?
    And if they are targeting a market that advisers haven't focussed on then why are they competition?
    This article will no doubt raise some defensive posts that just make us look like a bunch of children. Why can this industry just not agree that there is room for everyone? Insurance policies and super products are only tools in the advisers tool bag, it is not who we are.

  • Shane Bond on 25/02/2014 3:19:34 PM

    Pity help the poor client when they claim and find out they are not covered.. the worst policy you can take out is one where the claim is assessed at claim time and not at underwriting - especially when it comes to Income protection

  • Reg on 25/02/2014 3:02:37 PM

    It would be interesting to know what their claims history is like. By the way I take the flowers to the beneficiary as well as managing their claim.

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