Tag Archives: Financial Management

How Insurance Fits in Financial Management

There’s no better time than the present to shed light on an integral, yet commonly overlooked, aspect of financial planning: property and casualty (P&C) insurance needs.

New data from Chubb and Oliver Wyman finds that just 28% of financial advisers address their clients’ P&C insurance needs—leaving clients exposed to significant gaps in coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs. Yet, 77% of successful individuals want their advisers to provide this type of support.

This mismatch in expectations versus advisory services offered presents an opportunity for agents and brokers to build connections with financial advisers in pursuit of holistic wealth management strategies. Here’s how they can begin making in-roads.

Step 1: Articulate Why Holistic Wealth Management Matters

Advisers innately understand the importance of updating client financial planning strategies to respond to significant life changes—be it a new baby or new home purchase. But they often don’t know that failing to advise their clients to take the same approach with their insurance coverage can cost them millions.

Take Rick and Sue Smith. They recently moved into a new home and bought a backyard trampoline for their children but did not update their umbrella policy to reflect this purchase. One day, unexpected tragedy strikes—a friend of the Smiths’ children is injured while playing on their trampoline. Following a lawsuit, the Smiths must pay $2 million in damages.

Unfortunately, the Smiths’ standard umbrella policy only covers $1.1 million in liability—not including legal fees—and they’re required to pay the rest out of pocket. That means tapping into college savings and their nest egg. If the Smiths had an adviser who counseled them on insurance needs, they could have saved a substantial amount of money.

See also: The First Quarter in Insurtech Financials  

The unexpected will continue to happen, and it’s crucial that financial advisers ensure their clients are adequately protected. Helping them understand the P&C risk exposures their clients may face—many of which are often complex and difficult to grasp—is the best foundation on which to build a relationship.

Step 2: Explore the Roadblocks

Once advisers understand the role that P&C insurance plays in wealth management, the next step in the relationship is to help them grasp the three largest roadblocks that stand in the way of achieving holistic wealth management strategies.

First, many clients lack insurance products entirely or lack key coverages within the products they have. For instance, the Chubb and Oliver Wyman study found that, while most individuals have liability insurance, many don’t have high enough limits—similar to the Smiths. It was also shown that most Americans lack core insurance coverages, including for valuables like fine art (87%) or even flood insurance (76%).

Second, individuals who do purchase insurance often buy policies with the wrong features, largely due to using a standard carrier to cover their unique risk profile. As a result, these individuals could have an inadequate amount of coverage, overpay for features they don’t need or leave money on the table by not taking advantage of available discounts.

Third, and most importantly, clients are not receiving the right insurance advice from financial advisers. In fact, the same Chubb and Oliver Wyman research found that the driving forces behind sub-optimal client insurance protection is a lack of understanding of their risks and exposures, unpleasant prior experiences with insurers and little familiarity with insurance products.

No one expects financial advisers to become insurance experts. But, by understanding the core insurance challenges that clients face, financial advisers and agents and brokers can work together to build a holistic wealth management strategy tailored to each shared client.

Step 3: Explain the Business Benefits

Creating harmony between financial advisers and insurance agents and brokers doesn’t just benefit clients—there is also a business development case to be made.

As mentioned, more than three-quarters of Americans want their financial adviser to offer P&C support. If that isn’t convincing enough, 40% of successful Americans surveyed noted they’d consider switching to an adviser who does provide P&C support; 16% who would switch even if they had to pay extra fees.

See also: Why Financial Wellness Is Elusive  

There is clearly an opportunity for advisers to grow their business by working with agents and brokers (and for agents and brokers to increase their client base through referrals), while benefiting clients. The time for financial advisers and agents and brokers to act is now. Don’t wait.

How to Help Veterans on Mental Health

The constant beat of the major media drum often paints a grim picture of veterans and suicide. Sometimes, we wonder if these messages become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Consistent headlines include data such as:

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  • Approximately 22 veterans die by suicide each day (about one every 65 minutes).
  • In 2012, suicide deaths outpaced combat deaths, with 349 active-duty suicides; on average about one per day.
  • The suicide rate among veterans (30 per 100,000) is double the civilian rate.

Listening to this regular narrative, a collective concern and urgency emerges on how best to support our veterans who are making the transition back to civilian jobs and communities. Many veterans have a number of risk factors for suicide, contributing to the dire suicide statistics, including:

  • A strong identity in a fearless, stoic, risk-taking and macho culture
  • Exposure to trauma and possible traumatic brain injury
  • Self-medication through substance abuse
  • Stigmatizing views of mental illness
  • Access to and familiarity with lethal means (firearms)

Veterans show incredible resilience and resourcefulness when facing daunting challenges and learn how to cope, but employers and others who would like to support veterans are not always clear on how to be a “military-friendly community.”

The Carson J Spencer Foundation and our Man Therapy partners Cactus and Colorado’s Office of Suicide Prevention conducted a six-month needs and strengths assessment involving two in-person focus groups and two national focus groups with representation from Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and family perspectives.

When asked how we could best reach them, what issues they’d like to see addressed and what resources they need, here is what veterans and their advocates told us:

  • “I think that when you reach out to the vets, do it with humor and compassion…Give them something to talk about in the humor; they will come back when no one is looking for the compassion.” People often mentioned they preferred a straightforward approach that wasn’t overly statistical, clinical or wordy.
  • Make seeking help easy. A few veterans mentioned they liked an anonymous opportunity to check out their mental health from the privacy of their own home. Additionally, a concern exists among veterans, who assume some other service member would need a resource more. They hesitate to seek help, in part, because they don’t want to take away a resource from “someone who may really need it.” Having universal access through the Internet gets around this issue.
  • “We need to honor the warrior in transition. The loss of identity is a big deal, along with camaraderie and cohesion. Who I was, who I am now, who I am going to be…” The top request for content was about how to manage the transition from military life to civilian life. The loss of identity and not knowing who “has your back” is significant. Several veterans were incredibly concerned about being judged for PTS (no “D,” for disorder – as the stress they experience is a normal response to an abnormal situation). Veterans also requested content about: post-traumatic stress and growth, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and fatherhood and relationships, especially during deployment.
  • The best ways to reach veterans: trusted peers, family members and leaders with “vicarious credibility.”

Because of these needs and suggestions, an innovative online tool called “Man Therapy” now offers male military/veterans a new way to self-assess for mental health challenges and link to resources.

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In addition to mental health support, many other things can be done to support veterans:

We owe it to our service members to provide them with resources and support and to listen carefully to the challenges and barriers that prevent them from fully thriving. Learn how you can be part of the solution instead of just focusing on the problem.