Risk advisers are facing multiple threats to their businesses. Numerous industry reviews have led to lower upfront revenue, clawback provisions and increased education requirements. Competition from the direct market is also affecting the risk adviser’s bottom line and many may be considering leaving the industry.
Those who are not will almost certainly need to have a more diverse service offering and estate planning is a natural choice. Why? Because the largest asset many risk advice clients have on death is their life insurance. This is great for beneficiaries if it is managed properly in an estate plan but if not, there may be terrible consequences.
A well-constructed estate plan can protect life insurance from predators and creditors. It can also reduce a client’s annual tax, which has the potential to provide massive benefits over time. Estate planning is an important part of providing solutions that make a tangible difference to clients.
And the way we see it, it’s a very natural fit for risk advisers to enter this space because when they are talking life insurance with a client they are necessarily talking about death, so it’s a natural progression of that conversation. Because estate planning discussions also revolve around a client’s extended family and perhaps friends, these discussions may also result in other family members needing advice (insurance or estate planning). We think it’s a great business opportunity in an industry where business opportunities are shrinking.
It is also likely to be relatively easy for an adviser to identify clients who need estate planning. These are the clients with large insurance policies and/or assets who either don’t have wills or have a simple will that was set up a long time ago.
Estate planning can introduce risk advisers to new centres of influence, such as accountants, who may be more willing to introduce an estate planning solution to their clients than an insurance solution.
Will risk advisers need to go the extra mile in order to provide estate planning – of course. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!
The first thing they will need to do is further their education. This does mean undertaking specific estate planning education but there are a number of education providers that offer courses designed to deliver the skills required and they are more accessible than they have ever been.
Once appropriately educated, risk advisers will be able to include estate planning in their service offering and smart technology will enable them to do their part of the process in a very timely (and therefore) cost-effective manner. Astute Estate Planner, for example, can help risk advisers provide their component of the estate planning solution to their clients in about an hour.
The information collected and documented using Astute Estate Planner by the adviser can be imported into legal document generation systems to produce draft wills and estate planning documents for a lawyer for review and discussion with the client. This integration work provides a seamless, cost-effective and efficient experience for clients and reduces the amount of time required by the risk adviser from around four hours to about one.
Estate planning helps risk advisers to help their clients with a real need and it comes at a much-needed point in time where it will have a positive impact on the bottom line. We believe estate planning, enabled by fintech solutions, may represent one of the greatest opportunities for risk advisers of our time.
Hans Egger is managing director of AstuteWheel and Astute Estate Planner can be found at www.AstuteEstate.com.au
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