How can wealth managers broach the life insurance conversation with their clients? A panel of NAIFA members gave some insights during a webinar held as part of the Help Protect Our Families campaign.
“I don’t know how you can call yourself a real financial planner doing comprehensive financial planning without talking to clients about mitigating their risk,” said Keith Gillies, cofounder and CEO of United Wealth Advisors Group. “I tell the young advisors in our firm, if you want to do financial planning, that’s fine. But if you’re working with another young professional and they want to save some money and you want to help them with that, talk to them about disability insurance and at least some term insurance to protect their future. Make sure they add risk-based planning as part of their overall planning.”
Gillies advised financial professionals to team up with insurance specialists to offer a range of services to clients.
“We do a lot of external teaming with other highly specialized advisors,” he said. “We team with them on clients. I can say, I don’t have all of the answers for you but we have a team of experts and we can bring someone in to deal very specifically with an issue you have.”
Wall Street and wealth accumulation may grab people’s attention, but there’s more to financial security than that, said Shane Westhoelter, CEO of Gateway Financial Advisors.
“If I had a machine in my home that could print unlimited amounts of money, I would want to insure it if it broke down,” he said. “When you think about it, if we’re not able to do what we do every day to do our jobs and earn money, our personal money machine would break down. So clients need disability insurance, long-term care insurance and life insurance to insure that money machine.”
Westhoelter said the challenge in presenting life insurance to clients “is that it’s overwhelming – so much to learn, so much to know, so many different options out there.” He recommended advisors surround themselves with a team so that when a client has a particular need, they can be referred to the right person to help them.
“Maybe not try to do everything yourself but instead, be the quarterback on the team who calls the plays.”
Some clients may be embarrassed or fearful of talking about life insurance because of their lack of financial knowledge. So it’s up to the advisor to create a safe space to discuss a range of basic financial issues, said Aprilyn Chavez-Geissler, executive vice president at Gateway Financial Advisors.
“When you make a comfortable space that people come to, where you tell stories and discuss things like budgeting, saving, building credit, that has been very helpful,” she said. “It’s a way for me to help clients to build their financial awareness and be empowered to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. You have to share the knowledge in a basic way, so that clients can grow and make the best decisions.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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