Advisers have expanded the number of insurers they use, but being an adviser's main insurance provider remains essential, new research by Investment Trends shows.
After four years of planners consolidating insurers, advisers have increased the numbers and the typical planner now uses 3.7 insurers, up from 3.4 in 2013, the Investment Trends 2014 Planner Risk report shows.
But levels of insurer switching remain high, with 40% of advisers saying they stopped using at least one insurer in the last 12 months, up from 35% last year.
"Planners are aggressively expanding the number of insurers they use, while cutting out those who aren't exceptional. There are great opportunities and risks for insurers to either benefit or lose out from this switching," Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker said.
Being a planner's main insurance provider is still crucial, as advisers currently write 59% of premiums through their most-used provider.
The top five insurance providers by number of primary planner relationships are: OnePath, AMP, AIA Australia, BT Life and TAL.
"The top five insurance providers now account for 66% of primary planner relationships, up from 62% last year," Peker said.
Underwriting is a key area that determines the advisers' satisfaction with their insurance providers.
The average number of days that planners say it takes providers to process underwriting submissions has increased from last year's levels due to a tightening of underwriting standards.
As many as 45% of planners said insurance providers should focus on improving underwriting speeds to help them with their advice on risk.
The research also looked at adviser's use of risk software and found that 53% of planners have the XPLAN risk modules as their most-used risk software, followed by Rubik/COIN (18%) and Midwinter (8%).
Among risk software providers, XPLAN achieved the highest average overall satisfaction rating from its users and ranked highest across all nine of the other service elements measured.
The report surveyed 885 advisers between May and June 2014.
It is often said by equity managers with a mandate to scour the entire globe for investment ideas that getting the geographic allocation right in any given year is the most important driver of returns.
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