Life insurance – a vital yet changing product in the Wealth Manager’s toolkit

Wealth Managers operating within Europe, particularly in France, Monaco and Benelux, consider life insurance a vital tool for their wealth planning offering, utilising it as a wrapper to structure and protect their clients’ wealth.  

However, it is becoming a product that offers up as many challenges as it solves, as more options become available for Private banks working in an open architecture mode for their investment solutions, and needing careful alignment to the client’s aspirations. Life insurance needs to be factored into the digitisation of wealth management processes.  

Private banks, Life insurers and clients need to be connected and empowered to interact with transparency and efficiency. This can prove difficult and time-consuming without the adequate technological infrastructure in place. And while life insurance aggregator platforms solve one piece of the puzzle, they fail to fully integrate the product into the client lifecycle.  

Life insurance is a diversifying product 

After the shock of Covid-19, global life premiums are expected to ‘rebound strongly’, with ‘above-trend annual growth of 4% in 2022.’ In the context of low-interest rate environments, though, European life insurers are in a difficult position. Euro Fund is delivering low returns, and the more savers invest in the fund in euros, the more insurance companies must invest in poorly remunerated bonds. This pattern is lowering the overall performance of the fund. Therefore, Life insurance providers and Private Banks are encouraging clients to shift from the Euro fund to Units of Accounts where the returns are higher – although the associated investment risks are higher too. It’s a trend noted in a September 2020 report from McKinsey, with Western European insurers accounting for two-thirds of the global growth in unit-linked premiums.  

The product is opening up new opportunities for clients to diversify their investments within their portfolio, particularly as Private banks focus more on sustainable investments (ESG), with more underlying products eligible for Life Insurance contracts. For the banks, there are positives, too; it heralds the chance to sell their investment advisory or discretionary offering to guide and help the client harness the opportunity in this area. This does, in turn, create the need to offer the client a broader choice of products, however, necessitating access to a swelling repository of policy documents and terms.  

The answer lies in Client Lifecycle Management 

These factors contribute to a changing feast of considerations for Wealth Management firms keen to offer clients sufficient choice and support their advisors and relationship managers to deliver exemplary service. However, technology designed explicitly around the complexities of the Wealth Management lifecycle does exist. In the case of the solutions provided by Wealth Dynamix, multiple jurisdictions and entities plus an extensive Life Insurance offering can be supported. Both WDX1 and CLMi have different providers embedded in the solution – easing the administrative load for the Wealth Manager and providing choice for the client.  

These CLM solutions use a single source of data from prospecting to ongoing case management, ensuring a laser-focused view of the client and valuable insight and next best actions driven by their preferences. Cedric Neuville, Director of Pre-Sales and Consulting for Wealth Dynamix, talks through their use cases for life insurance, demonstrating their value to the client and the advisor across the client lifecycle: 

Onboarding life insurance product 

Onboarding can be cumbersome and involve lots of form filling. With WDX1 and CLMi, Life Insurance forms are pre-filled automatically using the client’s personal data. This means the client’s choices need not be limited, there’s greater ease for the client and wealth manager and a far speedier implementation from the point of instruction.  

What is time consuming is filling forms with duplicated information and the signing process: with dematerialised forms/processes and electronic signatures, the burden almost disappears. 

Aggregate Positions 

Like any product you buy, it’s good to have a one-stop-shop for product – a view of the updated position. WDX1 and CLMi give you this, with access to documentation for comparison or to share with the client. 

Recommendations 

As the system is supported by data gained at the onboarding stage, and meaningful insights are drawn from this data, relationship managers can fully understand the client’s preferences and find the best Life Insurance wrapper for them. Products – non-ESG, for example – that do not match the client’s preferences will automatically be discounted, aiding the positioning of relevant products to the client. 

Service requests 

Fulfilling client requests through letters and signatures via the bank’s back office that contacts the provider can take time. It might take 3 to 5 weeks to get a client’s money back or complete a simple process like an address change. With WDX1 and CLMi, it’s all electronic, meaning the only task for the wealth manager is to approve the request. 

Commissions 

It’s essential for all parties for fees and commissions to be transparent. WDX1 and CLMi gather all fees and centralise this data, presenting a clear view for the bank and the client. 

Much of the time, Wealth Managers will have no electronic repository of life insurance products so will invariably revert to the few products they know. With WDX1 or CLMi, they will not only have access to any plugged product but can access terms and conditions and product detail easily. 

If you’re struggling with inadequate systems and data siloes, now is the time to act. To tap into a wealth of thought leadership in this area or find out more about the capabilities of Wealth Dynamix solutions, contact us.

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With 20+ years’ experience in delivering strategic digital transformation initiatives, Cedric oversees the successful implementation of client lifecycle management solutions in the Southern Europe region.

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