WASHINGTON– Life settlement advisors can improve sales substantially by placing more emphasis on the customer’s “behavioral decision” than on financial issues, according to a life insurance industry consultant.
“The advisor needs to provide counsel, needs to guide the customer and literally hold their hands through the process,” said A. James DeHayes, chairman of the DeHayes Consulting Group in Roseville, Calif.
“This is very, very important,” DeHayes said.
He made his comments in a recent appearance at the 6th Annual Life Settlements Conference sponsored by Fasano Associates, and held at its offices in Washington, D.C.
“There is a big difference between the financial decision and the behavioral decision in a life settlements transaction,” he said.
“The behavioral decision requires much more handholding than what I have observed anyone in the life settlement industry…do,” DeHayes said.
It is very logical for someone to approach the end of life and have something unfulfilled that the cash in a life settlement would make possible, he said, but “I don’t see a lot of that being covered in the material that we talk about; instead we talk about pure, raw numbers.
“A little more focus on behavioral elements, what goes on in the life of individuals, a little more counseling, is absolutely a must.”
Specifically, he said, “I can see that what you can offer can make a big difference to individuals who are on the fence of how much life insurance that they should buy.” But he also said that, because advisors focus heavily on the financial side of the product, they are missing “the great behavioral pieces.”
“I hope that that can change,” he said.
DeHayes, who says he is consultant to approximately half of the 200 life insurance companies in the United States., argued that customers “cannot be aware” of what the life settlement advisor has to offer for the estimated 9 million policies “that go by the wayside every year,” i.e. lapse.
Even the policies that are surrendered are not getting the favorable treatment that advisors have to offer, he said.
That indicates that “intermediaries are not accessing these people; perhaps they are not capable of accessing these people and perhaps we are failing to share what good news we have,” he said.