Online chat key for client relationships

by Kelly Gregor04 Oct 2017
Making insurance digitally accessible and easy to understand, while supporting clients between renewal and anniversary notifications is part of the value add Online Mortgage Brokers offers, co-owner Wiremu Patrick says.

The Wellington-based broker focuses on insurance, while his business partner focuses on the mortgage arm of the business, as well as generating insurance leads for life and income protection.

As the name suggests, everything Online Mortgage Brokers does and sells is online. Patrick said they offered clients they couldn’t meet face-to-face the opportunity to conduct virtual video meetings, where they screen shared documents to assist their clients, for example in the application process.

“We wanted to take away the pain points, the obstacles to why people don’t take insurance up,” Patrick said.

But it goes beyond that, he added, we want to continuously support our clients through targeted and relevant content and communications that will keep them informed on the market.

The overriding expectation of an insurance adviser is to give advice and have the right conversations with clients, and we don’t see that ending once the initial sign-up process is complete, Patrick added.

We don’t want to only speak to our clients on renewal or anniversaries, we want to provide thought leadership and keep them updated on what’s happening in the market.

“We want to utilise technology to better communicate with our customers, and to identify trends, to know what’s being read. We want to provide a feedback platform for our customers. We want to know what they want to hear, what’s useful (to them).

“We want to use technology to help both parties to communicate better. We need to talk about regulation (such as FMA changes), coverage on income protection, what’s happening in the housing market, giving our view on that. We need to remind our clients that we’re here if they need something.

“We’re here and we can be your advocates. As a business, we are always looking to improve and add value.”

Patrick said there was “room for improvement” for all brokers to better communicate with their clients. He noted that brokers, including their clients, were time poor but keeping lines of communication open was important.

Online Mortgage Brokers sends out a monthly newsletter via email, run seminars and actively communicates with their clients via their Facebook page.

Patrick said there was a trend in the capital to favour income protection because many Wellingtonians were government (salaried) earners compared to Auckland where there are greater numbers of self-employed and small business owners.

“A lot of people and families in Wellington are looking for income protection to ensure they can meet their financial commitments. Previous generations had one income earner, today we’re seeing that less”.

People want to know they can pay their mortgage if one partner loses their job, as many families need two incomes today to keep their finances in order, Patrick explained.

He added that: “Kiwis are taught that they need life insurance when they get a mortgage, and health insurance is widely accepted as a good idea for people who can afford it but trauma is not as well understood”. Understanding trauma cover and the benefits better is an area he hopes to help prospective and existing clients with through the business’s digital communications channels.

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