Insurance pre-assessment - how to effectively question your client

Isn’t it frustrating when you are half way through an insurance application, only to be told by your client that they have/had a health condition that is excluded or loading applicable with the insurance provider you recommended? Not only does this unidentified information mean hours of additional work for you, but it also reduces your profit margin as the insurance application may be declined, meaning you will need to spend hours redoing the advice with another insurance provider who would have accepted the application.

So why does this keep happening? It comes down to mainly two reasons:

1. The client didn’t want to disclose the health condition due to fear of embarrassment or lack of trust with you – this is a regular occurrence and can sometime result in denial of claim when the time comes. In this case, it is essential to inform them of the duty of disclosure. It’s best that the true severity of their health condition comes out sooner rather than later. This way, you may have more time to understand and recommend an appropriate solution.

2. The question you asked the client wasn’t specific enough – this can occur when you ask the question “Do you currently have any health condition or issues impacting you?” The client may take it as health conditions that are impacting them right now, however, it doesn’t cover conditions that are in remission or currently being treated by medication. The more specific the question, the more detailed the answer.  

Questioning is one of your most important tools when it comes to discovering a client’s health conditions and securing them their much sought-after insurance to protect their income, their life and their loved ones.

So how do you get around the above points?

Firstly, you could ask the client to complete a mini-personal statement during the Fact Find meeting. This enabled me to do a fully comprehensive insurance pre-assessment that secured them the risk protection they desired. By making this step a part of your process, it reduced the unexpected pop ups of health conditions the clients “forgot” to disclose.

The next step after the mini-statement is the phone call to the insurance providers. It is important to remind your support staff that when they make the call, make it to the Underwriter directly - not to the insurance team in the call center. There have been many horror stories of the call center saying they will cover someone only to be declined as it’s the underwriter who makes the decision.

It is also important to remember that when it comes to industry super funds, they have a reinsurer who does their insurance. In this case, call the reinsurer (not the insurance team) at the industry super fund as they are the decision makers. It is important to note that you may have a major retail insurer offer insurance through the industry super as well. In this case, it’s very important that your administration staff or yourself ask for the “Group Risk” insurer specifically and not the retail insurer.

I hope that this provides some insight into the importance and significance of doing an insurance pre-assessment at the start of your financial plan as it will help determine if your client is insurable. Download our free Advice Starter Pack today to receive our Insurance Pre-Assessment Questionnaire Guide. Use it, test it out and fine tune your preferences.

Scott Miller