Learning from the mistakes of others is the best way to learn, according to the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO) which has launched its latest professional development program for its participants with a series of webinars based on client complaints.
IFSO Karen Stevens said the Scheme had drawn from 20 years of complaint experience and partnered up with the Institute of Financial Advisers
(IFA) and the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANZ) to produce the webinars.
Stevens said whilst less than 2% of the complaints they investigated last year related to financial advisers (with the majority of complaints overall being about products rather than service), it was important that the Scheme’s 4,000+ participants worked to prevent such complaints happening in the future.
“Our training focuses on how to improve business processes and client relationships, with an emphasis on how to prevent similar issues arising in the future,” Stevens said.
“Essentially our complaint experience and data helps to prevent complaints.”
Topics covered in the webinars include ‘Common client misunderstandings about the role of their financial adviser’, ‘Evidence at claim time – what you need and what’s often missing’, ‘Client misunderstandings – sum insured and underinsurance’, and ‘How to have difficult conversations with unhappy clients’.
Stevens said communication between advisers and their clients was a recurring theme in the complaint enquiries to the IFSO Scheme, and a focus of the webinars, which she said were time and cost-effective and could be easily accessed from your desk.
Many clients said they weren’t given critical information and sometimes they hadn’t understood the information provided, Stevens said.
“Improving communication and demonstrating good processes are two ways to demonstrate the value you can add for your clients, while also ensuring you protect yourself against potential claims.”
She listed eight tips for financial advisers:
• Have processes in place to document communications with clients
• Provide clients with key information in writing to remind them what you discussed
• Ask your clients what risks they want to be covered
• Understand any clients, and explain the scope of cover
• Explain any limitations on scope of cover and talk about them
• Explain exclusions and talk about them
• Ask clients to read the exclusions, and confirm that they understand them
• Remind clients to read the policy before making a claim, to understand their obligations.
The webinars, which are free, are available on the IFSO website www.ifso.nz
and contribute CPD points.
This article is from our sister title Insurance Business NZ, by Maryvonne Gray.