For many advisers, a common barrier to talking about this type of protection is thinking ‘I don't have any business protection clients, so I must look towards professional introducers'. While professional introducers like accountants and solicitors can be a great way to meet new prospective clients, how comfortable might they be about handing over their clients to talk about business protection when you might never have written a business protection case before?
Well, the best place to start your portfolio of business protection clients could be with existing clients. And a simple segmentation exercise could be a great starting point as we'll look at in the following case study.
So, you've looked at your existing clients and you've segmented them into four categories; the product(s) you last advised them on, their job title, their employer name and how the business is set-up. These four simple headings should help you to identify not only what type of business you're dealing with but also what role your client plays. The objective of this is to show some initial hot spots where a business protection conversation could unfold.
Imagine the list below is a small sample of your client bank.
|Client name||Product sold||Job title||Company name||Company type|
||Mortgage & GI
||London & Partners
||Mortgage & Protection
||Mortgage, GI & Protection
||RL Sockets Ltd.
Naturally you might want to jump straight in and look at the type of company they work for, but what about starting with the product you advised them on. From the results above you can see you advised them all on a mortgage, but can you remember if any of them used a mixture of salary and dividends to calculate their remuneration for the mortgage? If so, that could be an indication that the client is a controlling shareholder of a limited company and there we have our first route into a business protection conversation.
You could move onto looking at some of the more obvious signs that the client could benefit from hearing about business protection, and that's done by looking at their job title.
Look at Gloria, who's a director of Gloria Properties Ltd, a small property management company. Initial thoughts are Gloria is likely a key person to the business and there may be several business loans taken out under Gloria.
Katie is a partner at London & Partners, so you might want to identify the level of control Katie has within the business, and if an unexpected diagnosis of a critical illness or even her death would cause a significant impact to the running of the business. If so, could the business benefit hearing about partnership and shareholder protection?
Finally, what about David, he's a Sales Director who again may be considered a key person to RL Sockets Ltd.
By segmenting some of your clients into basic groups, you've identified clients you could start to talk about business protection with.
You can start to see that by segmenting some of your clients into some basic groups you've identified three clients where you could start to talk about business protection. And while you've made a few assumptions about the type of protection conversations you could be having; the next exercise will help you do this with more precision.
Okay, we've identified that Gloria, Katie, and David present the best opportunities to talk business protection. But what other information could you get hold of to help the conversation with you and your client? Well here's seven additional questions you could ask either before or during a meeting to help identify further business protection opportunities.
1. What type of company is it?
Starting off with the articles of association which all private limited companies registered in the UK must have in place. We know that looking at our case study, Gloria and David's business must have one of these to set out how the business must operate. So, can you get hold of this and familiarise yourself with the details within it?
2. Is there a partnership agreement in place?
If the business is a partnership, can you find out if there's a partnership agreement in place? It's not essential for a partnership to have one, but not having one, might not be the smartest idea. Because on the death of a partner the business would be dissolved and the assets passed to their estate and the remaining partners… if it turns out the business didn't have one of these in place, there's an opportunity to develop a professional connection with a solicitor.
3. What about loans?
Are you able to get a copy of any loan agreements which are held against the client to see the terms and conditions of them? This could make writing any loan protection policies a bit easier. You could even narrow this down to see if the business has taken out a Bounce-back Loan? Or have they accessed the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme?
4. Does the client have a will?
If they have one you might want to check it doesn't contradict what might be going into a cross option agreement. If there's no will in place, there's another opportunity for you to provide them a will writing service or point them towards a professional contact who could set one up.
5. Directors Loan Accounts
This could be money that has been lent to the business. Does it have any protection built in? This is a good opportunity for a conversation with an accountant. If the client passed away, the DLA becomes repayable on demand from the surviving shareholders to the deceased's estate.
6. Life cover
This should be an easier one for you to identify. If they have life cover in place, are they paying the premiums themselves? Perhaps you sold them the protection policy a few years ago. Could there be a tax saving opportunity if the life policy was to be set-up under a Relevant Life Policy with the business paying the premiums?
Has the business owner set-up a small self-administered scheme or self-invested personal pension to buy into commercial property? Quite common, but it can have a restriction on liquidity of the business. If we take Gloria as an example, her partner could, on her death, request for the contents to be converted into cash rather than a percentage of a building. How easily could the business access this cash?
Hopefully you can see that even if you're new to the world of business protection that by starting close to home, with your existing clients you can begin to build up your confidence within this space. Carrying out a short segmentation exercise may help highlight more opportunities that you first thought.
And if you’re wanting a little bit of help along the way, then our business protection planner could be the perfect partner. It contains lots of useful tools and support to help you get started in the world of business protection.
This article was first published in Cover