[There is a deep-seated bias against “insurance” and insurance products in the mainstream investment advisory and RIA community. While there are many quality insurance products and insurance professionals that properly employ them to address client financial risks, there are valid reasons and some history that have hardened RIA mindsets against them. Hearing the word brings to their minds what they see as some problematic categories of insurance like variable annuities, long term care, and indexed insurance products with the immediate negative connotations of “exorbitant fees,” “over slick marketing,” “misleading promises or improper uses” and “sleazy sales practices.” There seems to be a visceral reaction to those products as having an almost antithetical positioning from their core value proposition and brand. The last thing they would ever want to be perceived as doing is “selling insurance”!  

Unfortunately, in today’s world of hyper-competition and increasingly holistic financial services offerings and business models, that stance may increasingly be untenable. Taking a strategic position of adding carefully chosen and applied insurance products to their current value proposition can be truly differentiating. The truth is that any product can be misused or inappropriately sold by some but that does not change the inherent benefits of the product if it is properly applied to address an important client need. Proactively correcting some of the perceived sins of the past by making sure these products are properly applied as part of a thorough financial risk management plan would also competitively position the advisory firm, especially in the high-net-worth marketplace.

Practically though, taking a wealth management planning approach with insurance may seem like a daunting jump for some advisory firms. Luckily there are firms building bridges to connect advisory firms to this opportunity by building awareness and practically guiding advisors on how to utilize and integrate insurance solutions to offer a more comprehensive wealth management tool kit and further their competitive positioning to grow their firms.

To better understand the substantial potential and easy glide paths available for advisory firms to practically add and implement a fully turnkey insurance program to their firms, we reached out to Institute member Matt Meyer, co-founder of The Blueprint Insurance Services that bills themselves as a premier insurance partner for RIAs and truly comprehensive financial advisors.]

Bill Hortz: Actively working with advisory firms throughout the industry, what have you uncovered that is preventing some of them from seeing the strategic opportunity and expanded competitive positioning that insurance products can offer them?

Matt Meyer: There are several reasons why advisory firms may not identify the strategic opportunity of using insurance to be more comprehensive and competitive. Primarily, they typically believe the insurance process is extremely cumbersome (too much paper, time, underwriting), along with too many product choices, lack of in-depth product knowledge, and not enough product transparency. Structurally, to some degree because biases exist against the products, many advisors are not licensed to sell insurance and/or will not accept commissions (like fee only advisors). They also don’t have the right team in place to make sure their clients are properly communicated to about the process itself. They may see the need but don’t have an insurance service infrastructure to maintain their quality service brand to their clients in this area. Ultimately, they don’t want to jeopardize their client relationships with something that is not core to their business.

Hortz: How have you been trying to address changing this mindset? What needs to be done?

Meyer: We have developed multiple service platforms that we have specifically designed to help advisors address the obstacles we just discussed. The end result is offering advisory firms a turnkey, easy way to offer expanded, high quality, relevant, risk management planning solutions to their clients.

We start by learning the advisory firm’s business so we can tailor insurance education and coaching on how to best apply the right insurance tools to address the specific client needs of their client base. The key here is that we do not train how to sell the insurance product but to realize the solution sets they represent so advisors are offering relevant solutions, not selling insurance.

We then provide a simple easy process to introduce conversations and questions into their existing client discovery process all focused around family wealth management goals and needs.

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