Articles - Support your local Sales Channel

Inflation in western economies is causing people to worry about their finances in a way that they haven’t for many decades. Endless reports in the media about the increasing cost of living mean that consumers are seeking to cut back where they can, as they fear that essentials are becoming unaffordable. One of the obvious choices for cutting back for many people is in the area of life and pension savings, where the benefits aren’t obvious and immediate, but the savings are.

 By Tom Murray, Head of Product Strategy LifePlus Solutions, Majesco

 Insurance is sold, not bought is an old adage and is likely to become more valid as consumers struggle with the increasing cost of day-to-day living. The pressures on people will increase as mortgages and utility bills increase, and they are less likely to consider their financial future except to meet their monthly commitments.

 As a result, Financial Advisers and insurance sales teams will have to work harder to explain to people the benefits of longer-term financial planning and the value of insurance products in protecting their wealth and future financial well-being. The problem for life and pension providers is twofold; how to provide good-value products to their consumer base and convince that base of their value.

 Adopting digital distribution and outreach channels is one way to reduce costs. Going direct to consumer is an easy way to reduce the cost of sale and provide better value products to a more price sensitive market. However, it still relies on its audience being ready to purchase at a time when consumer spending is on the decrease. Outreach efforts must be very pointed to entice consumers to consider investing in their life and pension savings.

 Many people require far more in-depth discussions to persuade them of the value of life assurance products and pension savings - the kind of discussions that are generally held face to face with an insurance agent or IFA. The challenge to insurers is how to effectively support IFAs in the sales and service processes as cost-effectively as possible.

 This is where using cloud-based platforms comes into its own. Cloud-based support of distribution channels enables IFA and agents to access information from the life and pensions provider in real-time from wherever they need to -either in their own offices or in the homes and workplaces of their clients. Cloud-based services ensure that the information required can be shared immediately, helping the consumer understand their current financial position and how to make the necessary changes to plan appropriately for the future.

 Financial advisers also benefit from being able to better help their clients by showing them the effect of possible changes they might want to make. Working together, they can try out different scenarios that may make it easier and cheaper to reach their financial goals whilst still coping with the financial pressures caused by the current cost of living crisis.

 Using cloud-based platforms to support agents is more cost-effective for the insurer, allowing them to produce their products and provide their services more efficiently, providing better value to the end consumer. The kind of value that is so important in an environment where everyone is trying to tighten their belts and watch every penny.

 Giving advisers access to digital platforms also ensures consistency in the advice and sales process by allowing the insurer to audit the information produced and the resulting recommendations made by the Financial Adviser. As regulators are putting increasing emphasis on the duty of providers to their customers, this is growing more important than ever before. Evidencing the suitability of the recommendations based on the information supplied by the customers will become a key issue over the next decade, and insurers need to be in a position to prove that they are exercising control over their processes.

 Supporting sales channels as efficiently as possible will be the mark of a successful insurer during the downturn that is coming. Digital services to those channels will be vital in keeping costs low whilst providing the real-time services that consumers are accustomed to in the online world. Insurers who aren’t investing in digital platforms to support distributors are making a false economy that will cost them dearly in the medium term.

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