FMI's 2018 #RealityCheck consumer survey offers the industry a deeper understanding as to what’s behind the insurance gap and the current perceptions driving much of people’s behaviour. One of the key insights uncovered was that 48% of South Africans think of life insurance as death cover.

This is a problem, and one of the reasons why there are so many South Africans uninsured. The perception of death cover effectively means people don’t have other critical living insurance benefits such as income protection or critical illness cover. Younger clients switch off to life insurance, thinking it’s not relevant because they don’t have debt or dependants.

As an industry, we need to better inform the younger market, which is largely ignored within the life insurance industry. Additionally, we need to make sure insurance is simple, relevant and accessible by investing in the right technology to support advisers and the changing consumer trends.

Consumers today are much more aware of and engaged with their own financial planning needs and the products available, and therefore have higher demands around brands and services. This changes the way product providers and financial advisers should interact with younger South Africans, and what the industry needs to offer.

“In this connection economy, your relationship building skills are your competitive edge,” says Mike Saunders, digital thought leader and CEO of digital agency, Digitlab. “As the digital world facilitates more and more human connections, it’s your ability to leverage these connections that will lead you towards success. There is a very real opportunity in driving social media relationships as an adviser.”

In taking yourself online, Saunders offers the following tips to get the most out of your digital presence.

Choose a platform

We get caught up thinking we need to be everywhere. We don’t. We need to choose a platform where our customers are, where we feel comfortable expressing our opinion and where the type of content we produce matches the technology of the platform.

It’s obvious to choose a platform where our audience is, but it’s less obvious to pick a platform that we are comfortable with. If we are not comfortable, we will not prioritise or enjoy our online presence and on that basis alone it will fail.

Also, choose your medium. If you’re a writer, choose a writing platform, and if you prefer verbal communication, you could speak on camera and then load the videos to Facebook and YouTube. If you’re an off-the-cuff person, then using the live video features on Facebook and Instagram may be better for you.

Start a conversation

This is key. Look for ways to start a conversation. Don’t simply put content out to be consumed. Write about things that matter to others, not simply what you hope to sell. Open the door for conversation, encourage participation by responding to everyone who comments. It’s these two-way conversations that open doors to opportunities.

Build trust

Trust is the currency of relationships — and you can build trust online. To do so, focus on producing content that improves your credibility in the industry, showcases your reliability and creates a closer connection with your audience.


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