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Claim support a key skill for advisers: Report

Financial advisers across Australia now play a greater role in supporting clients through life insurance claims, with almost 80% of advisers saying it's a key part of their offering.

TAL commissioned The Value of Financial Advisers at Claim Time to explore the role of financial advisers throughout the claims process from both the adviser and client perspectives.

It revealed that of the 125 advisers surveyed 77% agreed that helping their clients through claims is a key part of their offering and 78% felt they could provide a lot of value to their clients at claim time.

Meanwhile, 67% of advisers said they would like to be more confident in advising their clients when making life insurance claims.

These figures highlight the importance of education and support for advisers when it comes to guiding clients through the life insurance journey.

Additionally, 66% of advisers said they understood the claims process while some suggested that providing emotional support was outside their skill set.

About 43% of advisers said they don't always know what to say when dealing with bereaved clients, 42% are concerned they might upset clients and 42% revealed they sometimes avoid difficult conversations altogether.

A further 60%have felt stressed when working with their clients on a life insurance claim.

The report said the results are unsurprising considering advisers are balancing the presence of strong emotions from clients, alongside the processes and requirements of life insurers.

TAL general manager of retail distribution Niall McConville said the claims experience is most effective when insurers, advisers, and clients all work together.

"The research underpinning this report shows us that, by providing advisers with the tools, resources, and education they need to support their clients through a positive claims experience, we can empower them with the confidence to play that valuable role at claim time," he explained.

"Equally, there is a key role for insurers to better support advisers through what can be a daunting experience as they guide their client through a claim.

"The research backs up what we know from talking to our adviser partners - managing the challenges of claims can have an emotional impact on advisers."

The report further revealed advisers who demonstrate empathy, facilitate outstanding communication, and foster more than just transactional relationships, will significantly enhance the quality of their client relationships and the value of their financial advice.

It suggested that empowering advisers with guidance on effective ways to manage the emotional strains of a claim can help to equip them in providing meaningful support.

While 70% of advisers said they knew where to find information on the claims process, 68% said receiving training on how to support their clients going through an emotional time would help them provide the best possible service to clients during the claims process.

SJ Stevens Financial Services senior risk adviser SJ Stevens added: "If advisers are kept up to date and across the process, then it's easier to make sure the clients have the stress taken out of the experience."

Read more: Niall McConville