Focus on four core principles where agents have an advantage

| 05 Sep 2017

Agents and Financial Advisers (FAs) need to have an adaptive mindset and continuous learning to be successful, and focus on four core principles where they have an advantage, according to Mr Low Shih-Nin, Managing Director of Southeast Asia Markets, RGA Reinsurance Company.

The four core principles are:

  1. Return to core protection insurance products;
  2. Understand customers’ pain points and needs with the human touch;
  3. Be able to explain complex protection products comfortably; and
  4. Focus on customised services and connections, and seize upselling opportunities.

Riding on industry trends
Mr Low highlighted some industry trends where advice from agents and FAs are particularly needed. The trend towards ageing populations, coupled with prevailing low interest rates, has led insurers to move towards offering more pure protection products in recent times. These products have been growing ever more segmented and complex, with increasing impairments defined within a single critical illness and multiple tiers of wellness programmes – this may not be all bad for agents and FAs, who can find their niche here.

“There are a lot of opportunities agents can go into if you know your customers’ problems well enough. This is the segment that other distribution channels, such as banks, may not be as competent in,” he said. He added that agents and FAs would then have to delve into medical conditions and terms more than ever.

At the same time, the rise of social media has resulted in more channels for customers to voice their complaints about companies, together with regulators stepping up requirements to prevent mis-selling. With more transparency and disclosure required, agents and FAs would need to spend more time explaining products to their clients.

As for competition from bancassurance, he advised agents to focus their strategy on getting lifelong clients and avoiding the shorter term and simpler products that banks like to push. “Focus on long-term products where the value of the agent is, because trying to compete with banks with their large customer bases will not work,” he said.

Riding on digital tools
On the often-cited challenge posed by digital insurance and the direct-selling of life insurance products online, Mr Low said it is still early days and will take years to shake up the regional market. Instead of worrying about that, he advised advisers to embrace the positives of digitalisation – including the new tools it avails to them in simplifying underwriting and engaging customers.

Asia Insurance Review subscribers may log in and read the full story at Prevailing through humanity.

Never miss a story. Subscribe here to get the complimentary AgentsWIN delivered to your inbox.