If you’re interested in the peace of mind that comes from having insurance, but wary of all the different providers, products and options, then you may want to consider obtaining your cover with the help of an insurance adviser. There are lots of direct and online options to obtain your cover these days, but would you fully rely on Dr Google for your medical advice or YouTube tutorials to repair something as complex as your car? For things that matter, like protecting the things that are most precious to you, you need expert advice. So what do advisers do, exactly, and how can they help you? Read on to learn more about insurance advisers and how to find one.
What Is an Insurance Adviser?
Insurance advisers (formerly known as agents or brokers) fall into the regulatory category of Financial Advisers and play a unique role within the insurance ecosystem. They serve as an intermediary between consumers and insurance companies ( or “providers”), providing clients with expert guidance, access to policy information and a selection of recommended, personalized options. Advisers must be licensed in New Zealand by the Financial Markets Authority and are usually paid by commissions from providers rather than by customers.
Who Should Use an Adviser?
Advisers are popular among families, individuals and self-employed workers who lack employer-sponsored insurance. They can also be important to business owners offering a group plan to employees, as small businesses often lack the resources to fully address insurance issues in-house in a comprehensive manner.
What is an Adviser?
Advisers are licensed and regulated professionals who connect clients with a range of options from a range of insurance providers. Super Sure deals with a range of New Zealand insurance product providers. Advisers represent the client and after assessing a customer's needs and objectives, will make recommendations that are in the best interest of the client after researching several insurance solutions.
How Insurance Advisers Can Help You
Navigating the Market
An adviser's value comes in part from the unique challenges of navigating a vast insurance landscape, where options are overwhelming, information available to clients is often confusing, and products are particularly complex. Naturally, this challenge increases the value of expert intermediaries. One of an adviser's most important roles is simply reducing the client’s information-gathering burden, and helping them navigate a sea of options and variables. Furthermore, because a broker is “looking out” for the client, their recommendations are tailored to each customer's individual needs and objectives making sure that your insurance is fit for purpose.
Advisers offer expertise throughout the insurance acquisition process. While they provide plan information and quotes to the client, they also weigh in with an industry insider’s perspective. By working to understand the customer’s unique situation, they can tell whether a particular plan that’s great on paper would be a good fit for the individual. Advisers gather information about your situation, needs and objectives and define a "scope of advice". They explain the options and benefits, ins and outs of all the different types of products. They research appropriate solutions in the marketplace and answer your questions, discuss alternatives and make recommendations.
A good adviser will provide ongoing services, just like your family doctor. They will offer regular (usually annual) reviews because your insurance needs may change as circumstances in your life change. They will ensure that your existing insurance remains fit for purpose.
A good adviser will be an invaluable support at claim time. Often a claim is made at a stressful time in a client's life e.g. bereavement or illness. A good adviser will take away much of the burden of paperwork and dealing with the insurance company and support you through that claim process. Claims are where you see the value of the premiums you have paid over the life of your insurance policy. A claim payout is the financial peace of mind you wanted to protect for. It's one of the most satisfying times for an insurance adviser knowing that they have protected you and the things and people that matter most to you.
What to Expect From an Insurance Adviser
One of an adviser's main responsibilities is to help educate the client about the insurance market and explain how one’s personal situation affects getting insured. To start, advisers are there to answer common questions like the differences between plan types and the meanings of industry-specific terms. Advisers should also be current on applicable insurance laws and regulations, which are frequently updated. Advisers also offer a valuable perspective on what policies certain types of clients tend to select and how these decisions play out going forward. Advisers are required to complete annual professional development programmes to keep their exertise and business practices up to date.
Several Plans to Compare
After getting to know the client’s needs, objectives and overall situation, advisers research solutions and then offer comparative quotes—usually a short menu or a couple of select options. These selections can include multiple types of plans from one particular provider, as well as several comparable plans from different providers. Advisers usually provide brochure-style information for plans they recommend and talk through the rationale of the recommendation of each option with the client.
Advisers are still available as a resource to clients after implementation of insurance cover if issues or questions arise. Clients sometimes want clarification about the details of a new policy, to make future changes, or support with the claims process. Remaining available to clients while they actually use their new insurance over many years is an often overlooked but important part of an adviser's role as well.
Most services offered by insurance advisers are at no charge to the client. Some advisers charge a fee for advice, but most advisers are paid commissions by insurance providers, which tend to be based on a percentage of the premiums of plans they implement. In other words, the cost of an adviser is built into the cost of insurance in general and because the service doesn't end after policies are put in place it's an important added value to the client.
How to Find an Insurance Adviser Who’s Right for You
Choosing the Right Adviser
The most important factors in the adviser-client relationship are expertise, ongoing service and advice that is in your best interests. Clients should feel confident that their own interests are the priority. Will the adviser proactively explain the downsides of a plan? Are they open to comparing their recommendations to alternatives?
Another important component is communication—not just the way an adviser interacts, but their ability to turn their expertise into language the client can understand. While advisers are sought for their industry knowledge, it’s only helpful if they can meet clients halfway. A good adviser listens closely to understand the client’s situation and makes sure their offerings are tailored to the client’s unique needs.
Ideally your Adviser will work for you and your family or business for a long time, just like your family doctor or solicitor so it's good if you find an adviser that you feel at ease with and referrals are a great way to achieve that.
There are different types of Adviser businesses - small family businesses like SUPER SURE which offer a friendly, personal service and there are large firms with multiple advisers. Some only work with commercial clients and some work with mainly families and individuals.
How to Find an Adviser
One of the most common methods is seeking referrals from trusted sources, such as friends, family members, an accountant or a mortgage broker. There are also organisations such a Financial Advice New Zealand which represent consumers in relation to financial advice. These organisations usually have a directory of licensed and qualified advisers.