Annexure B to the supplementary regulations published in respect of the National Lockdown includes the term “Insurance services” in the list of essential services. This term is unfortunately not defined anywhere further in the regulations or the empowering legislation and that leaves FSPs in the dark about where their services fit in.
In the absence of any further directive and clarity, it is Moonstone’s view that it should be read as the services that Insurers need to provide to ensure that claims can be received and settled, premiums can be collected and policy amendments can be made. It does not in our view, or at least until further clarity is provided, mean that non-insurer FSPs can keep their businesses open as usual.
The important thing to realise is that lockdown does not mean a shutdown – it simply means working remotely and engaging with your clients in other ways.
FSPs will need to be there for their clients as never before. It goes without saying that clients will have questions about the safety of their assets, their medical aid cover, their investment performance and their life-risk portfolios. They will have questions about their planning, their wills and estates, their business interruption provisions. Claims will be deemed even more of a crisis than under normal circumstances. Even simple questions regarding staff taking home computers that belong to their businesses will need to be answered.
Whilst client needs are obvious, FSPs must ask themselves what business opportunities the lockdown presents to them and how they will be approaching their clients?
Our view is firstly that the service must be proactive. Reach out to your clients before they reach out to you.
But reaching out only to confirm your availability, although important, does not provide opportunity.
One of the greatest challenges faced by financial advisors is getting some “face time” with their clients. There will be no better time for you to contact your clients as they will definitely have time.
We would suggest that FSPs consider their client base and identify and prioritise which clients they would like to reach out to first. This reach out should however already contain the agenda of what you would like to discuss with the client, identify the need or service you want to speak about. Raise questions in their minds so that they also understand why a contact session is important.
As always, good technology will be helpful and definitely preferable but, if nothing else, a phone call and emails will also suffice.
Now is the best time to illustrate your value to clients.