Broker says the pandemic has caused a "pivotal shift" in the nature of enquiries
Advisers have been working overtime managing client concerns over the past few weeks, and one broker says New Zealand’s Level 4 alert phase has caused a “pivotal shift” in the kinds of questions being asked.
With the vast majority of businesses having no option but to close their doors, Abbott Group chief executive Mark Reid says there has been a large wave of clients concerned about their financial futures, and wondering what relief- if any- their insurance policies could provide.
He says clients are being encouraged to speak to their brokers and banks on an ongoing basis - however, given the constantly evolving situation, it is unsurprising that a large amount of anxiety still remains.
“Since lockdown, there has been a pivotal shift in the nature of inquiries, with clients most concerned about their financial positions and understanding what, if any, redress there is from their insurance policies,” Reid told NZ Adviser.
“Currently, inquiries relate to the initial trading shock and the inability of our clients to carry out their usual business. They’re asking about business interruption insurance, loss of rents, contract works, fleet cover, etc.”
“As the weeks go by, we expect to see more clients seeking clarification about various risk and insurance scenarios,” he continued.
“It’s understandable clients will put everything under the microscope during an economic downturn, but it’s our job to ensure clients remain fully protected and are in the best possible position to withstand the lockdown and beyond. This is a dynamic situation. Keep talking to your broker and ask for advice.”
Reid says some clients are also asking about premium funding options, and Abbott is offering funding facilities which can be paid back over 10-12 instalments, thus providing some cashflow relief where needed.
He is also encouraging clients to take advantage of the Government’s support scheme for businesses, and to speak to banks about their loan options.
“If you’re already taking advantage of premium funding but need additional support, the Government has designed a scheme guaranteeing 80% of the risk to encourage your bank to support you,” he said.
“Our brokers are encouraging clients to talk to their banks and accountants.”
“Insurance doesn’t and can’t cover everything,” he concluded.
“But it’s our job to help you understand your risks, what you can mitigate with insurance, and to protect you, your family and your business with the insurance tools we have.”