April 18, 2019
April 18, 2019 | Risk Pulse
The Risk Advice Disconnect
Why Zurich supports the retention of life insurance commissions.
The topic of life insurance commissions has long elicited a diverse range of views. This proved especially true during the recent Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sectors. Throughout the program of seven hearings, the role of remuneration structures in various categories of ‘misconduct’ was examined in depth by the Commission. Media coverage was predictably one sided, running the traditional line that commissions are inherently conflicted and therefore inherently contrary to the best interests of consumers. This view was expressed in relation to commissions of all type, including life insurance commissions, mortgage broker commissions, and grandfathered trailing commissions.
The position that Zurich has long held, and which we continue to advocate is as follows:
- Expert financial advice across complex categories such as life insurance is of enormous value;
- Advisers should be paid fairly for the cost of providing advice at the time they provide it;
- Consumers should have a choice in how they are able to pay for that advice;
- Commissions play a vital role in allowing the everyday consumer to be able to access advice.
Zurich made a submission along these lines in response to the Round 6 (Insurance) hearings of the Royal Commission.
That submission referred to research we had conducted as far back as 2010 that examined consumer attitudes to life insurance commissions.
Subsequent to that submission, Zurich engaged the highly respected research consultants, Rice Warner, to conduct an up – to – date examination of this same topic.
Our ‘Risk Advice Disconnect’ whitepaper summarises their key findings, along with other relevant research conducted by Zurich throughout its global network.
The highlights of this paper include the fact that:
- Australians prefer to seek life insurance advice from financial advisers
- Around 55% of consumers are not willing to pay more than $250 for life insurance advice
- Around 27% are unwilling to pay a fee at all
- Nil are prepared to pay $2,000 or more
- Two thirds of advisers said the cost of providing advice is $2,000 or more
- The majority of consumers prefer a commission to an out of pocket fee
- The main reason for this is the inability to afford a fee
- The man objection from those who prefer a fee is that they think advisers will favour products with higher commissions
- This is rendered redundant now that commissions are standardised between insurers and products
- Up front commissions in Australia are low when compared to other developed markets
A full copy of the report is available on request from your Zurich BDM by calling 1800 252 650.