Though the new financial advice regime only kicked off last Monday, insurers have spent the last 18 months working with advisers to prepare for the new requirements – and, according to Tower Insurance, there has also been a significant focus on training internal frontline staff.
Commenting on the changes, Tower Insurance managing director of partnerships Jonathan Beale noted that he deals with a lot of home, contents and life insurance advisers, and said that Tower is now focusing on understanding their business models and ensuring that it provides them with the right information.
He said there has also been a significant focus on customers, and ensuring they have a good grasp of a product before they make a purchase.
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“Tower has done a lot of work on upskilling its front line to understand the new regime, what impact it will have, and how they need to talk to and deal with customers from now,” Beale said.
“There has been a big focus on suitability, and making sure that customers understand why the products we’re offering are suitable for them, and the risks and benefits they might come with.”
“My role in partnerships is around working with a lot of mortgage brokers and life advisers, and making sure the disclosures we’re providing are clear, accurate and helpful,” he explained.
“We also want to understand their business models and how we can help support them in the new regime, which is probably the biggest part of our plan.”
Tower Insurance works primarily with New Zealand’s larger broking groups, and Beale said that many advisers are now looking to work with product providers in order to complement their core skillset.
“We have a group referral model, so we deal some of the larger brokerages in New Zealand,” Beale said. “It gives us access to thousands of customers, so it’s a real go-forward strategy for us.”
“A lot of advisers might specialise in lending and insuring home and contents, so referring to a specialist is a great way of ensuring that a customer gets the best outcome,” he continued.
“But importantly, the adviser can focus on their core skillset and subject matter. We’re there to complement what the advisers are doing, continually add value, and help them understand how they can identify opportunities.
“We’re seeing a lot of demand and interest in how we’re doing things with the regime changing, and with people making changes to their business models. We’ll definitely see that evolve over the next two years, and we’ll see advisers being more focused on their core skills and how they can partner with product providers.”