As many advisers know stories behind protection claims can be a powerful tool to help clients understand the importance of protection. Claims statistics can highlight that the industry does pay the vast majority of claims, but the stories behind these claims show the real life impact that being able to claim has in a far more personal way. In our recent virtual protection forum, one adviser explained her own experience of loss and subsequent illness at a young age. In this candid article she explains her story and how not having protection in place led to real financial hardship, her passion for protection and how she uses her own experience to highlight the benefits of protection to her clients.

“My name is Emma Astley and I am the owner of Cover My Bubble Ltd.

I have experienced both personal and professional examples on why insurance is so important to have in place. I am also a sales adviser within my business, so I can relate first-hand to how advisers can struggle to highlight the benefits of personal protection insurance. 

Personally, we suffered a financial burden as a family and I use this regularly in sharing my story and the effects it had on us, all in order to help others. I don’t want anyone to go through what we did due to having no insurance in place. This personal experience and family story are the passion behind my business. 

In 2006 we lost our daughter, Lillie-Beth, after a month of her fighting to survive. Due to grief and some complications after Lillie’s birth I couldn’t work and struggled to move from the settee and face doing anything outside my home. We therefore lost my income into the family and my husband tried to work all hours to try and keep us afloat. Some mornings he had to cycle to work as we didn’t even have £10 to put petrol in the car. It might not seem like a big financial loss to most people, but when you spend most of what you earn and are unable to save, you will be surprised how much this can impact a family. The financial strain didn’t just last a few months, it dragged on for nearly ten years due to the reduction in income, taking out loans and borrowing from family etc.  The pressure came with this too, worried about direct debits coming out of the bank, what bills were coming through the letterbox, scared of answering the phone in case it was people chasing for monies owed.

We didn’t know about life insurance or the other types of personal insurance then. We were a young family starting out, renting our home and didn’t get any advice to take insurance out.
It’s hard enough to lose someone, but then to suffer the financial stress just makes things ten times harder.

Four years after losing Lillie I was just sat in the car outside school waiting to collect my two young children. My husband had to come and collect me and take me home, not knowing what was wrong, he just thought it was a virus. The next day I went to the doctors and after tests it was confirmed I had suffered from a mini-stroke. I can’t have stroke at 30, I’m too young, I thought!

Due to the fact we had hardly any disposable income, we still hadn’t discussed or taken out any insurance. We also didn’t think we’d be so unlucky again, after losing Lillie.

So, as you can understand my love and passion for insurance is real and we share our experiences in order to raise awareness and help other families look at insurance. I find it extremely rewarding to Cover another Bubble. That’s my goal in life, to cover as many bubbles as possible. Doing this also helps me with my grief. Lillie is part of the company and is my rainbow covering bubbles for the future. She’s my inspiration and my ‘why’. 

Most people will have experiences of losing a loved one or suffering from a critical illness and we can share these examples to help other people. I know this may not be easy for some advisers to talk about, but it will help to relate or make people think seriously about taking out life insurance, critical illness or income protection etc. By being sensitive and personal brings the adviser and the client closer together and aids in helping to protect another family or individual.

It is easy for some advisers to get into the habit of a script. Whilst it is essential to be compliant, the rapport and friendliness you create with a potential client can be more important to them. Often a personal touch is needed when talking about a potential future illness or the inevitable in someone’s life. Agents need to come away from just seeing a call as a lead and think more about providing the protection for someone’s family. If you are thinking it when you are on the phone, then that’s how it will sound to the person on the other end! We’ve all heard the common replies we get once we’ve introduced ourselves;

“I’ve been cold-called again today, they just wanted to push me into a sale”

“Oh, I have had so many calls today about life insurance, I just put the phone down and block the numbers”

“They just didn’t listen to me and spoke over me, just wanted to close the deal”

“I hate ‘salesy’ people as they don’t take no for an answer & it puts me off. I can’t trust them with my life insurance”

These negatives in our industry is what can stop people looking into or buying insurance and we need to do more to raise awareness to help others get the right protection.

As advisers we need to take time with clients. Don’t push them into sales that they may not fully understand or need. We need to help the client fully understand their need for insurance and provide them with various options to suit their circumstances and affordability. Far too many companies incentivise their employees to ‘sell, sell, sell’ and I feel this generates far too many sales that will just cancel down later on.  

There are so many amazing advisers out there who take the time and care for their clients, but much is needed to improve some processes and procedures for others. These will help clients to understand and then protect them with the right insurance product. The vulnerable and uneducated will be the clients that will fall foul of bad selling, so for the safety of those, we need to ensure they will get paid-out for what the policy is for.

It’s our job to give the clients examples on why insurance is important, talk about possible outcomes and use personal experiences to overcome their objections.”

In more recent times, Emma has shown her willingness and passion to ensure that her clients get the right result. This is highlighted in the short video she posted onto LinkedIn which highlights how she was able to get a claim paid even though the client did not think she was eligible. This is essential viewing for all advisers and particularly highlights how the industry can come together to ensure that clients receive the right outcome.

Protection Guru’s mission is to help more people advisers support clients with the information they need to protect the people they love and their other needs. We believe we can all learn from each other.  If you would like to share your experience working as a protection adviser via Protection Guru please contact Adam Higgs or Ian Mckenna to talk about including your views on this site.