I am going to discuss a subject that really infuriates me, so please let me apologise upfront for my tone & cynicism.
2o minutes ago I received a call from a telemarketer at the ‘National Support Centre’ (sounds very official) who was very friendly & who swamped me with delightful comments about how pleased he was to meet me & how young I sounded etc., etc. Within a minute or so he transferred me to another young chap from Real Insurance whose job it was to sell me some life insurance and/or income protection.
I must admit that, when I receive these calls, I am quite impressed at the politeness of the telemarketers on the other end of the telephone. They are friendly, they manage to deliver their sales pitch in a very short period of time &, without ever enquiring about my circumstances, are able to move very rapidly to ‘closing the deal’. The training provided by organisations like Real Insurance, to their telemarketers, in how to sell products to unsuspecting consumers in minimum time really is quite extraordinary.
I will concede however that these calls do present me with an irresistible opportunity to be a little bit naughty & I do get so much more pleasure from listening to the garbled muttering on the end of the phone when fairly basic technical questions are presented to the poor unsuspecting telemarketer.
No questions were asked by the telemarketer to me about my personal circumstances, or business, or debt levels, or family needs….NOTHING! His only concern was to sell me $750,000 life insurance (apparently he could not quote over that amount as I am too old). What if my family needed more? What if I had a special needs child? What if my business needed to cover me as a key person? Too bad!
I asked him about ownership options & he told me that (& this is all taped) ‘Hanover would own the policy’. Hanover, the reinsurer would own my policy! How about that!
I said I thought that was very interesting & when we discussed the fact that my SMSF currently owns my existing policy he told me that ‘my premiums could be paid for by my tax’. Stop the Press! There’s a new one that I haven’t heard before. When did the legislation change? Did I doze off & wake up in a new millennium?
What sound advice I am receiving from this young man – I feel so fortunate that this organization has got my best interests at heart. I have no doubt that my family will be in safe hands when I pass away, and having the premiums paid out of my tax? Well that’s just a bonus isn’t it?
Then we got to beneficiaries & his next statement genuinely stopped me in my tracks. He said that I could choose up to 5 beneficiaries on the policy but when I told him that one of my children was still a minor, he said ‘her percentage would be held by Hanover until she reached 18 years of age’. Exact words!
The pressure got a bit too much for this young chap so he called in the supervisor. Her technical knowledge was one rung higher but, given that (from a knowledge point of view) the previous chap wasn’t even on the ladder yet, we are not talking about any level of substance or expertise whatsoever.
This charming young lady once again was extremely courteous but once she realized that finding suitable answers to the tabled questions was a little too complicated, she then moved in to sell me their income protection policy. “Can the policy be owned by my company or discretionary trust?” “No”. “Can I be covered for 75% of my income?” “No, just a set amount, however just a few basic questions & we can get you underway Sir”.
Well, how lucky am I? Just a few basic questions! It’s as easy as that & an amount of money will be deducted fortnightly out of my bank account & I can sleep soundly knowing that Real Insurance is going to look after me & my family.
OH MY GOD!!!!
This is not the first time that this has happened to me & I am not going to apologise for mentioning the name of the organization – Real Insurance – because you people have allowed your untrained & ill-informed staff (they are very polite though) to cold call decent hard-working Australians in a pathetic attempt to rip them off.
Either lift your game & start adhering to the onerous regulatory requirements that we must maintain, or get out of this industry & stop deceiving Australian families!
Recently I read a wonderful article penned by Clayton Daniel about why some of this industry’s greatest talent is exiting in droves. I wonder how the head of compliance at my licensee would react if I, or my staff, were doing what the people at Real Insurance are doing. And they cannot deny that this conversation took place because it has been taped.
Perhaps I should send that friendly young fellow at the National Support Centre the mobile phone number of Kelly O’Dwyer so that she can experience for herself the level of advice that is coming from direct insurers.
True professionals in this industry are being slammed with over-regulation which is leading to a mass exodus of a wealth of knowledge & experience, while ministers turn a blind eye to this sort of shabby practice by direct insurers.
The Government, the FSC, the regulators & the direct insurers – you should all hang your heads in shame. You know you are deliberately misleading hard-working Australians simply to line the pockets of the greedy, self-centred narcissists who are running your organisations.
How about you introduce some ethics & decency into the joint? They’re probably foreign terms but I am sure you can look up the meaning!