The life insurance industry is at a turning point, with adviser remuneration arrangements set to change and with new reforms shaping the way product providers operate, meaning investment in planner education has never been more critical to ensure quality advice provisioning.
“At TAL we fundamentally believe in the purpose of insurance and it’s something we’re quite passionate about,” TAL general manager of individual life Gavin Teichner says.
“With remuneration structures changing, it’s absolutely critical that we are able to provide propositions from a global perspective that support our adviser channel.
“To be confident in our advisers, we need to invest in them because it’s very important. I would definitely say that our investment in education has been the key differentiator over the last 12 months.”
TAL’s Risk Academy is regarded as an important step towards realising the company’s vision of a healthy and vibrant insurance market in Australia by teaching advisers about the advice they provide and how to run their businesses.
It seeks to give planners a complete advice education, with 25 courses spanning the operational aspects of insurance and client management, technical advice knowledge, building relationships with referral partners, and improving overall advice delivery and client engagement.
Over the past year, between 6000 and 8000 advisers have undertaken individual seminars and training through the academy.
“We think we have made an incredible contribution towards helping advisers with their businesses – both from a technical and non-technical basis,” Teichner says.
“When we design our propositions, we design them with the end customer in mind and it helps us significantly educate the advisers as to why we build the proposition in that way.”
A key priority for the team is ensuring all new TAL Individual products maintain the appropriate balance between profitability and attractiveness to clients, he says.
This approach is underpinned by TAL’s drive to have the best claims management processes and a strong understanding of risk on the underwriting side, as well as a comprehensive understanding of product design.
“We design our products specifically so that they are able to be administered and fit into our services function appropriately, meaning that we can maintain our clients over the long term,” Teichner says.
“That has been what I would say is one of our key differentiators because we have established a very valuable and profitable proposition in the market.”
In the coming year, TAL’s key priorities include strengthening its digital proposition to make it easier for advisers to engage with the end customer, and widening its product proposition for distribution.
“We would be looking for alternate products outside of our core value chain. This will allow our traditional advisers to provide new areas of advice,” Teichner reveals.
“There are also a couple of additional areas in the domain of protection where we think that advisers can play a significant role in the business, so that is something that we are looking at.”