TAL chief claims officer Jenny Oliver (left) and retail distribution general manager Niall McConville.

Most advisers find working with clients on life insurance stressful and would like to feel more confident handling claims, according to research from TAL.

A surveyed conducted by the insurer found 60 per cent of advisers felt stressed working with clients on a life insurance claim.

“This is unsurprising as advisers are balancing the presence of strong emotions from clients, alongside the processes and requirements of life insurers,” the report stated.

Of the advisers surveyed, 96 per cent had assisted their clients with claims while 77 per cent stated helping clients through claims is a key part of their offering.

Some 78 per cent stated they would be comfortable discussing life insurance claims with their clients but 67 per cent would like to be more confident in advising their clients when making life insurance claims.

“These figures highlight the importance of education and support for advisers when it comes to guiding clients through life insurance claims,” the report stated.

Only two-thirds of advisers stated they felt they understood the claims process well.

“However, the opportunity still exists for life insurers to work together with advisers to increase this number, setting the foundations to successfully navigate the claims process as it continues to evolve, and reinforcing the value of advice for customers,” the report stated.

Around 43 per cent of advisers don’t know what to say when dealing with bereaved clients while 42 per cent are concerned they might upset clients who are making life insurance claims.

“TAL’s research shows that, for some advisers, providing support at these difficult and emotional times can fall outside of their core skill set,” the report stated. “The more worrying implication here is in the impact for the client, with 42 per cent of advisers revealing they sometimes avoid difficult conversations with clients about life insurance claims altogether.”

Crucial support

The benefit of improved adviser confidence would have a significant impact on client welfare during the claims process, the research found.

“Our research shows that not all advisers feel they are equipped to fulfill the support role and there is a gap in confidence and knowledge around claims for many advisers.”

Because the claims process can be “intimidating, time consuming and stressful” for the claimant advisers played an important role, the report stated.