Riskinfo has reflected on the three best initiatives in 2015 that have advanced, or have sought to advance, the value of Australia’s life insurance industry for the benefit of consumers and advisers.

Riskinfo’s three best initiatives in 2015, in order of release date, are:

  • Positivity for Planners Campaign
  • Launch of ‘Communication Guide’ for Risk Focused Advisers
  • BT Product Initiative

Positivity for Planners Campaign

The Positivity for Planners Campaign was borne from the passion of a single adviser, Melbourne-based Melinda Houghton.
The campaign was developed by Houghton in association with fellow adviser, Daryl La’Brooy, and SRS Coaching and Consulting’s Rachel Staggs, as well as other industry colleagues. Its aim was and is, to share with consumers the value that financial advisers deliver to their clients every day of the year, every year. It was motivated by Houghton’s frustration with what she saw as a growing divide between value that the vast majority of financial advisers deliver and the perception of that value that presently exists in the mind of the consumer.

Featuring real life examples of financial advice success stories, the campaign sought ‘cloud funding’ to purchase consumer air time across a variety of formats, including video, cartoons, podcasts and articles.

While the funding targets were not achieved, this initiative ranks as a fantastic example of everything that is good about this industry. Houghton continues to work towards changing the public perception of the role and value of risk-focused financial advisers in particular, during a period in which the reputation of all financial advisers has been tarnished by the actions of a few.

Launch of Communication Guide for Risk Focused Advisers

Life insurance industry adviser and mentor, Russell Collins, OAM, launched a book in May. Its title is ‘Skills that Succeed: A Communication Guide for Risk-based Financial Advisers’.

This is the first time we’ve rated a publication as one of our best three initiatives. But there’s a reason, which lies in its content. This publication stands out as beacon for success in the life insurance advice sector. This is not our opinion, but that of many experienced advisers, including AFA President and holistic adviser, Deborah Kent, and senior industry adviser, Godfrey Phillips.

The book is not about how risk-focused advisers can make money. Rather, it lays the foundations on which a process can be developed that gives the adviser permission to enter into the personal life of the client in a way that adds significant value.

BT Product Initiative

Following a change in SIS regulations, BT Insurance laid claim in October to to being the first retail life insurance provider to extend its Terminal Illness Benefit provision from 12 to 24 months. This is a significant initiative, even though it may not appear to be so at first glance.

Click this link to view a brief video conversation that gives context to this initiative, encapsulated by BT’s Katherine Ashby, who comments, ‘For advisers it changes the needs analysis conversation, previously we said, ‘… if you’re no longer here, what does your family need… We’re now we’re also saying, ‘you’ve got two years to live; what do those two years look like?’

The recognition of these great initiatives comes at a time of significant change within the sector. In the same article one year ago, we described 2014 as a tumultuous year for the financial services industry. If 2014 was tumultuous, we think 2015, at least from the perspective of many risk-focused advisers, could be considered as an annus horribilis. Notwithstanding the perspective gained over time, each of these three initiatives moves the industry forward, for the benefit of all, during an era of what will be permanent change for the life insurance industry in Australia.