Insurance 'horror stories' a design for life

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With so much focus on Australia’s baby boomers hitting retirement, it could be easy to forget that there is a new generation of clients coming through. But for Matthew Hale from Financial Design for Life, the next generation is always on his mind.

Financial Design for Life was started in April 2005 by Chris Browne, and Hale considers himself lucky that he was able to land such a great mentor. After he lost his mum to cancer and his sister battled to overcome the disease, Hale went to university knowing that he wanted to make a difference.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something where I could lead people in the right direction, and obviously, all of those things that happened very close to home enabled me to see the negative impact of not having good financial advice,” he says.

They now service a 95 per cent client base aged between 24 and 46 years old. Hale says being able to relate to the clients is a major factor in successfully servicing them, and his age (27) gives him an advantage.

“I think the age, or how you look, is the first thing that will stop people wanting to talk to you…I don’t think you can sit down with someone who’s completely new and be accepted straight away.”

Being extremely flexible, allowing kids in the boardroom, and being able to utilise technology – drawing on the TV – are all vital when servicing Gen X and Gen Y. “You need to service those people how they expect and want to be serviced,” says Hale.

It’s also important not to take offence when clients counter your quote. The Gen X and Y’s have access to more information and will be looking at your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. “They’re going to go away and look on blogs that aren’t qualified at all…so we need to educate them from that very first meeting as to how it needs to be played. But we also need to be wary that that’s just the way they’re going to do it.”

Gen X and Y’s are happy to outsource to people they trust, says Hale, so the company doesn’t try to do everything. Eventually, they might even look at having different specialists all under one roof. “I think where people have gone a bit awry previously is thinking that a business can’t have a whole raft of different specialists. For us that’s definitely the aim, but we need to find the right people.”

Hale is still focusing on his passion for insurance, which he sees as the ‘foundation for everything’. He personally knows how hard it can be to get insurance if you don’t get it early, and has seen enough ‘horror stories’ in his own house to see its importance. He says the next gen are heavily guided by the views of their parents, but growing debt and more instances of cancer in younger people is being a strong driving force.

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