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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