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Is the future role of intermediaries to be coaches?

06 September 2021 Sanlam

Many intermediaries believe their future value may rest in coaching their clients on their financial journeys, instead of being conduits for a client’s needs analysis requirements. In fact, at the recent Sanlam Financial Confidence Webinar, 64% of intermediaries said a tech-led advice model is the way forward, freeing them up to play the all-important coaching role.

In the future, client’s needs will be predicted using technologyand artificial intelligence. Intermediaries will then translate this to clients, with sympathy and reassurance. Machine power meets ‘human overlay’ in a winning combination that adds immense value to everyone involved. This chapter in humanity’s history has shown the pivotal role intermediaries can play. Right now, people need an empathetic ear just as much as they need a realistic plan. A ‘coach’ to guide them to their goals and help them through the curveballs that come their way.

The omnipotence of technology has changed howintermediaries and insurers do business. In fact, 50% of intermediaries say technology and digital transformation are their major focus right now. Tech is now seen as a relationship enabler – a way of connecting with clients when face-to-face isn’t an option. While that works well for existing relationships, there’s still work to be done on figuring out how to convert client leads via Zoom… Landing new business takes trust and face time. Currently, there’s no replacement for a physical meeting. The hope is that accelerated vaccinations mean these kinds of interactions can resume soon.

These were just a few of the insights from the panel of Sanlam experts, which included Karin Muller, Executive Head - Retail Affluent: Sanlam Individual Life; Jean Lombard, Executive Head – Retail Affluent: Sanlam Savings; Dr Marion Morkel, Chief Medical Officer -Retail Affluent: Sanlam Individual Life; and Jaco Coetzee, Chief Executive Officer: SanlamConnect, which was facilitated by Theesan Moodley, General Manager: SanlamConnect. Here are some of the others:

- Only 16% of the attending intermediaries said they’d be focusing on data analytics to identify new opportunities for growth in the next 12 to 18 months. Brokerages need to focus on using their internal data to get better insights into client behaviours and how they can be relevant to clients’ needs. Coetzee said, “Nowadays, we start to see many of the CRM systems upgrading their capabilities to make data analytics available within their systems to intermediary practices.” The advancement and omnipotence of digital makes it increasingly easy for intermediaries to integrate tech and automation. With Sanlam’s business intelligence capability, we will assist intermediaries to strengthen their client relationships.
- Ease of business is a core consideration for intermediaries and an ongoing focus for Sanlam.Lombard said, “Ease of business remains top of mind.The challenge with ease of business, though, is that the regulatory pressure often goes the other way. We need to find innovative ways in which we can relieve that regulatory burden and still make it easier to do business.”
- Intermediaries have appreciated the pay-out of claims in this period. Muller said intermediaries have told us that during this period, the ability to pay claims gave them the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of insurance to clients.

The inaugural Sanlam Financial Confidence webinar was the first in a series which aim to express Sanlam’s purpose – to empower people to live with confidence, including its intermediary partners.

For more information, visit https://online-hosting.co.za/sanlam/financial-confidence/

Quick Polls

QUESTION

Do you believe this is the toughest period for financial advice in many years?

ANSWER

Yes, it’s hard to navigate the challenges and difficult to adapt. I’m struggling.
No, I have managed to navigate the challenges and have adapted. I’m good.
50/50. I just feel like whether we like it or not, we have to ready ourselves for change… be resilient and scale for the future. It’s not about survival of the fittest anymore but survival of the quickest. We just have to move on with life.
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