26 June 2018
MLC Life Insurance is changing the way it provides support to financial advisers wanting to develop their business following the introduction of new roles one year ago, designed to help advisers better connect with their customers.
MLC Life Insurance’s Business Engagement Managers (BEMs) were introduced to the company’s Retail Advised division in May 2017 to help advisers better understand changing customer needs and how to build long-term customer relationships.
Sean McCormack, Chief Customer Officer, Retail Advised Insurance (acting), said the new roles are providing advisers with the skills and knowledge to better connect with customers and improve how they do business.
“Our sector is moving away from a ‘set and forget’ mentality, and customers’ needs and expectations have risen dramatically. They want tailored interactions that are quick, easy and online. The advisers we speak to see that, and are now revisiting the way they engage with their customers and give them a more individualised experience,” said Mr McCormack.
“We know advisers are specialists in providing financial advice, but historically haven’t been experts in marketing activities, latest fintech capability or customer engagement. Our BEMs are here to support them to build the skills and resources in these areas to better interact with their customers. We’re proud to be the only life insurer in the market offering this kind of service.”
Since the roles were introduced 12 months ago, seven people have been appointed to these positions in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, and have worked directly with over 120 advisers to implement these changes within their businesses. During the period, this cohort of advisers has seen a 25% improvement in their lapse rates with MLC Life Insurance. As an indirect result, we have seen a 22% increase in the number of new customers being insured with MLC Life Insurance from January to May 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
Matt Mitchell, BEM for Victoria, said the roles support advisers to have become owners of powerful information.
“My role is to support advisers to be connected to their customers. I tell advisers it’s about ‘how connected the customer feels to you’. I work with them to understand their business, pin point areas where they can improve how they engage with customers and put in place the resources such as training, tools and insights to help them do this.”
A key part of doing this is working together with an adviser to build their customer engagement strategy including mapping the customer journey and their customer philosophy.
“It’s about understanding who the target customers are - segmenting their customer base and looking at the best ways to engage with them. We work with advisers on a range of areas including how to make process efficiencies, methods to communicate with customers, increase their referral ability and provide training for advisers and their support staff such as in behavioural economics,” Mr Mitchell said.
The roles are designed to support the future needs of a new generation of advisers who are hungry for insights and looking to do things differently. BEMs can also provide support in other areas including fintech knowledge – for example working with advisers on the importance of API integration of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and automated marketing campaign technology.
BEMs work with adviser businesses for a period of up to 12 months with the aim to give them the tools to actively improve their customer engagement strategy, so they can continue with this new way of working after the period is up. The roles are in addition to support MLC Life Insurance provides to advisers such as through Business Development Managers, and the broader sales, underwriting and new business hub.
“As the life insurance industry continues to change and customers’ expectations evolve, we need to ensure we’re providing the right support for advisers now and in the future,” said Mr McCormack.