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Independent risk advisers fighting for the rights of average Australian consumers

 

Independent risk advisers fighting for the rights of average Australian consumers

Yes

Today I was told indirectly that I should stop making noise about a subject I’m very passionate about. Funny thing is, it made me want to be louder. I’ve learnt in life, the more people tell you that you can’t question something, that’s when you should question it more. 

I now want to be even more ‘embarrassingly loud’.

Everywhere I go, I get treated with respect as a professional. Not because I wear a tie or a suite or expensive shoes, because I don’t. I was told once that you need to do these things to be perceived as professional. No, seriously I was. I prefer to simply be professional.

People I meet who don’t even know me show me consideration and respect, and are grateful for the professional way in which I go about my business. Most of all, they are grateful for the services I provide. But some people believe this to be untrue.

“Ben to be professional you need to do it our way, otherwise you will be seen as anything but professional,” I was told once. I find it strange that I am being told that there is a “crisis of confidence” and the people want change. But not once have I experienced this. I wonder, am I wrong? Surely if you believe what is being said, people would be running from me? Instead the opposite is happening. 

I find it sad that people in our industry who are meant to be supporting us are criticising us for pointing out issues that need to be addressed. 

I believe it is their position that is unravelling and they are finding it hard to come to terms with the damage they have done with ‘misinformation’ (that's my nice word for it). They are embarrassed by the reality of what is true. They are embarrassed by their part in a terrible proposed legislation.

It is OK to say, “I was wrong and I will do everything in my power to correct it”. That is true leadership and strength. It is even OK to say there may be another side I have not considered? Imagine that. Is it possible that what many of us have been saying might actually have some merit? Instead of calling people who disagree with you embarrassing, perhaps consider the points being raised? Some of them are quite valid.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing some of these ‘embarrassing people’ who almost without exception take professionalism to heights only imagined by others.

Here we go, cover your ears. This is going to get embarrassing.

LIF legislation is a disgrace and should never be presented to the Australian parliament again in its present form. If passed, it will offer no benefit to the average Australian consumer. In fact, it will be detrimental. “Why is that Ben?” I hear you ask.

  1. Insurance premiums will go up (confirmed by multiple insurers). Premiums over the last couple of years have already been increased and it’s just the beginning.
  2. The cost of advice will go up and availability of advice will go down. Seeing an independent adviser will be either unaffordable or so unpalatable to consumers they will not seek it and either remain under-insured or go uninsured. To top it off, any extra services will only be provided for an extra cost and it is likely consumers will be paying more for less service. How’s that for embarrassing? In fact, it’s shameful.
  3. The big financial institutions are the only ones who will benefit from this (banks). Guess who’s pushing hardest for these changes by the way? The FSC led by the big four banks. Zurich, who is part of the FSC, has publicly raised many of the issues I have mentioned. You can read Zurich’s submission to the Senate inquiry. It is brilliant and worth the read to get an unbiased understanding of what the issues are.
  4. Thousands of jobs will be lost (not my opinion, what I was told by insurers).
  5. No opportunity for new independent risk advisers to enter the industry. Exactly what the FSC wants. If we can’t kill you off quickly, we’ll do it slowly. I did a calculation: if a new adviser went out on their own as a risk adviser, they worked hard and had a great first year, they would earn about $30,000 after costs under the LIF. I can’t see many graduates putting their hand up for this.

Just in case you think this is all in my imagination, here is an article referring to Senator Chris Ketter and Senator Sam Dastyari. It said, “However, the two senators made additional comments in the report stating they noted concerns in the submissions that not all stakeholders were consulted in the creation of the new framework and the reform would negatively impact consumer choice but increase the cost of life insurance while decreasing adviser numbers as the market share of large institutions increased.”

But no, nothing to see here, go back to work and stop embarrassing us by highlighting what a ridiculous position so many in our industry have taken.

Show me one benefit to consumers and I will listen. Just one. But there isn’t one, otherwise we’d have heard it by now. You want to be perceived by the Australian public as professional? Be professional in your conduct and dealings.


 

Ben Day is a specialist life insurance adviser at Fitzpatrick Financial Services

Independent risk advisers fighting for the rights of average Australian consumers
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