Andre Costa on Advicefront and getting started with new clients – MAF202

In this episode I talk to Andre Costa of Advicefront.

It’s all about helping advisers get started with new clients in an engaging way that let’s them focus on building long term relationships. We chat about where the idea came from and how Andre and the team developed and launched the service.

Welcome to episode 202 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Andre Costa on Advicefront and getting started with new clients - MAF202

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • What Advicefront is
  • How Advicefront helps advisers connect with their clients
  • Where the idea for the tool came from
  • Company marketing tactics
  • The biggest challenge Advicefront has faced
  • Their business successes to date

Who is Andre Costa?

Andre studied architecture before changing to software development, applying what he’d learned about design.

He is the CTO of Advicefront, a front-end tool for financial advisers to onboard their clients and learn more about them. It links into other apps and tools, like Voyant, to create financial planning solutions for customers.

Andre says it combines everything he loves – design, technology and finance – in one.

Summary of our chat

Advicefront allows financial advisers to collect information from clients digitally, eliminating the need for face to face meetings during the fact find process. It saves the client time, as they just log in, complete the risk questionnaire and sign. It also enables advisers to instantly collect their set-up fees.

They believe that meetings during fact-finding aren’t needed. Clients appreciate being able to complete the process in their own time. The adviser then quickly gets to the stage of addressing the client’s needs. However, they encourage face to face meetings after that when possible to help build long term relationships.

CEO Jose Supico came up with the idea of Advicefront while working as a financial adviser in Portugal. He wanted to build a tool to help advisers, and toyed with creating robo-advice. Instead, he created something to make them more efficient and productive, and to win more clients.

Advicefront recently received investing which enabled them to build a team of developers, designers and marketing. They researched the market and began building social awareness. Now, they’re heavily active on Twitter and LinkedIn, and share videos to explain latest updates. Adviser beta testers also spread the word and give recommendations.

Andre says their biggest challenge has been breaking into the UK market, because the team is based in Portugal but the company is British – there was some prejudice. It was also difficult for them to have a presence on social media and at industry events, so it took time to generate awareness.

Advicefront have created a positive community, where advisers can give feedback on the tool as they test and use it with clients. Setting this up while growing was very useful. They have a core group of loyal advisers using the tool every day and an international bank as a client.

What’s Next for Advicefront?

The next step for Advicefront is to develop further modules for the platform. These are for report planning and building, and will integrate with other tools to do so. They are also working on supporting advisers to execute financial plans. Then, they’re looking to expand outside of the UK. 

An Example of Simple Marketing

Andre says that Uber keep everything straightforward. Their communication is clear, the app is simple to use, and it allows him to get where he needs to be quickly and easily.

An Example of Marketing Muppetry

Andre says that some airlines make things complicated. TAP (Air Portugal) has a system which is a mess. It’s difficult to check in and communication is poor.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Andre Costa on Advicefront and getting started with new clients – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark – MAF197

On the show this week, I talk to Andy Couchman, co-founder of Protection Review.

We chat about how the Protection Review Conference, Dinner and Awards has grown to become one of the premiere financial services events of the year and the new “I Mark” which seeks to recognise true innovation.

Welcome to episode 197 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark - MAF197

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How Andy started Protection Review with another financial services luminary, Peter Le Beau
  • The process Andy goes through to write product reviews and how he scores them
  • What innovation really means in financial services
  • The reasoning behind the launch of the I Mark
  • What companies will have to do to receive the I Mark.

Who is Andy Couchman?

Andy started his career in product marketing roles in various large UK financial services companies.

After leaving corporate life he made a success writing about financial services topics. Together with Peter Le Beau he started Protection Review back in 2003. What started as a paper publication and an annual dinner has turned into a prestigious annual Conference, Dinner and Awards event and a popular website.

Although he has retired from the day to day running of Protection Review, Andy still writes the reviews published each month.

Summary of our chat

In his reviews Andy always remembers that teams of people will have worked hard on launching the product or service he is reviewing. They’ll be looking for the highest score possible. But over the years he’s developed a method of setting a benchmark for the products and services he’s reviewing.

He rarely gives a 10 out of 10. In fact this may only have happened a couple of times.

Until now, Andy has always acknowledged innovation in his reviews. Thinking back to the launch of Critical Illness Cover in 1986 he acknowledges that it was real innovation back then. However the current practice of adding new illnesses and conditions, whilst a good thing because it improves the product, is more evolution than innovation.

That’s why he’s please Protection Review is launching the “I Mark”. It will recognise and promote true innovation in the protection segment of UK financial services.

He’ll still mark his reviews on a scale of 1 to 10, but from now on he’ll also award the I Mark to products and services that offer something different.

Recommended business book

Andy likes Damon Hill’s Autobiography. The racing driver faced many mental health challenges over the years and Andy thinks this is sobering reading and reiterates how important it is for insurance companies to take care of people with similar issues rather than simply rejecting them for cover.

He also recommends Lucian Camp’s book about financial services marketing. Lucian was my first ever guest on the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Links

If you enjoyed – Andy Couchman on Protection Review and the launch of the I Mark – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Debbie Bolton on underwriting, simpler protection and trust – MAF158m


This week we dive back into the world of financial services and protection. My guest is Debbie Bolton.

We talk about underwriting, protection product development and whether products and processes are getting simpler for customers.

Welcome to episode 158 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Debbie Bolton on underwriting, simpler protection and trust - MAF158

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • A simple definition of underwriting anyone can understand
  • The role of an underwriting development team in an insurance company
  • How AIG Life is speeding up the application process for protection products
  • Why the industry is trying to simplify insurance products
  • How AIG Life works with financial advisers
  • Why trust is a three-way process

Who is Debbie Bolton?

Debbie works for AIG Life. She’s responsible for claims and underwriting strategy. She’s been in the insurance industry for 20 years. 17 in underwriting. The role was completely different when she started, for example, paper-based with stacks of case files.

Starting off in smaller companies, Debbie progressed in her career, moving to Ageas (as AIG was then) as manager for the underwriting development team. The company represented innovation, technology and automation. It was an exciting place. And she says it still does. Debbie says the work is fast-paced, and she loves her job.

Summary of our chat

Underwriting is the combination of science and maths to work out a price for a customer. It looks at an individual’s health, their hobbies, occupational risks and where they travel. Healthy office-workers will pay a lower price than unhealthy people in dangerous jobs.  But the aim is to charge as little as they can so everyone benefits.

Debbie’s team differs from typical underwriters. They set the philosophy of the company.  They’re involved in all AIG Life’s developments. From products to technology. They manage the rules engine, to incrementally and continuously improve the processes for assessing, simplifying and pricing risk.

AIG Life is aiming its “Instant” product at younger, healthier customers who want to take out protection at speed. The application process has no interruptions. So after completing a form, a person knows straight away whether or not they’ve got cover. AIG Life came up with a shorter list of questions people can complete quickly. It offers a favourable price.

Debbie says companies are simplifying products and the processes. She explains that AIG Life customers want instant results. They want their insurance policy as quickly as possible. The shorter quiz has specific questions for identifying risks that would increase premiums. It often cuts out the need for medical evidence.

The response to the “Instant” product has been overwhelmingly positive from financial advisers. AIG Life has a team of underwriters who speak to advisers every day. Their feedback gives the strategy team a better understanding of the issues they face and helps product development.

There needs to be trust between the customers, the advisers and the underwriters in insurance companies. Being available to the advisers builds trust with them, particularly those writing complex cases, so they know they’re getting the best rates. AIG Life want the public to have confidence in their automated service, and to trust the information they offer.

The one thing she’d like listeners to take away

Underwriters and claims assessors are the technicians of the whole case. They decide if a case can be underwritten or a claim paid. As a rule, underwriters start from yes; they want to get a case on the books or pay a claim, as quickly as possible. They don’t want to say no to people.

A marketing campaign or product Debbie loves

Debbie’s recently been impressed with parcel delivery. Wanting to send something to New Zealand at Christmas, she researched a quick and simple solution to get it there in time. She found a company online which gave her a competitive quote, collected her parcel and shipped it six hours after she started looking.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Debbie Bolton on underwriting, simpler protection and trust – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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