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Are you a "trusted" advisor?

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I attended the Life Insurance Conference in Orlando earlier this spring. One session title that caught my attention, making it a must-see, was “Advisors for Life?”

Based on a study conducted by LIMRA researchers, the results revealed some really interesting dynamics in the client-advisor relationship. What really stood out was the weight “trust” has with clients.

The following are some of the key results from the study.

What is the most valued attribute when selecting an advisor?

  • Trust (47 percent)
  • Willingness to educate (39 percent)
  • Experience in business (37 percent)
  • Listened to me (34 percent)
  • Worked with recognized firm (32 percent)
  • Respectful of me (28 percent)
  • Good track record (28 percent)

The first question allowed for multiple answers. However, the study then narrowed the focus of the question by asking the respondents to limit their answer to a single quality they look for in an advisor. The results were split between two primary qualities:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Good track record

With clients focusing on trust, the study then asked that they define it. Respondents did so with three key terms:

  1. Integrity
  2. Dependability
  3. Competence

Why do clients switch advisors?
In addition to the trust factor, another subject took center stage in the study — clients switching advisors. Three reasons topped the list:

  1. Change in life situation
  2. Portfolio performance
  3. Lack of communication

The importance of personal referrals
When you look for new clients, take into account the role “trust” will play. In fact, the study showed that overwhelmingly, advisors were found through personal referrals, which was broken down by the following topics:

  • Family, friend, coworker, neighbor (45 percent)
  • Referred by current advisor (12 percent)
  • Through seminar or workshop (7 percent)
  • Internet (3 percent)

As you move forward in your practice, it’s more important than ever that you develop and grow that trust factor with your clients. To do so, it’s imperative that you communicate clearly with your clients, providing them with the information they need in a presentation and format that they can easily grasp and understand.


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