Personal statements: High risk

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Are you helping your client complete their personal statement, or coaching them through the process? If so, Ben Day says, step away.

Day is a specialist insurance sales coach at Risk Sales Tools, and he says that advisers are putting themselves at tremendous risk if they coach their clients through their personal statement.

“Please don't expose yourself,” he begs of advisers. “Tele-underwriting means when they don't disclose, you don't get blamed.”

He says that with all the best practise and compliance issues, he can’t believe so many advisers are still doing this.

“Personally, if I was out advising again I'd never do another personal statement again.” Instead, he tells every adviser he can, “clients make bad decisions every day, (non-disclosure is one of them) don't let them blame you for their mistake”.

Day says it also frees up adviser time, improves relationships with clients and most importantly, if the client tells the underwriter everything, they will be paid in the event of a claim. Although advisers may use the personal statement process to build their client relationship, they can also do this by spending more time in other areas.

Advisers who like to use the personal statement to pre-sell exclusions can still do so by asking if they have any medical issues, or if they’ve been to the doctor in the past 10 years.

“I personally don't see any difference between dealing with an issue that was found through tele-underwriting or finding out about an issue when a PMAR is received or a medical and bloods have been done,” says Day.

While he acknowledges that every adviser has their own way of doing things, he says that this may ultimately affect any PI claims that advisers try to make.

“Most of all if you do do it, don't tell me or my brother when we meet you and good luck with your [sic] P.I. claim.”