Rachel Towell, MetLife Australia’s State Manager for NSW/ACT, explains how MetLife Protect allows advisers to match their clients’ needs and values more closely to their life insurance.

How exactly is MetLife Protect trying to help advisers and their clients?

The advice process is largely about uncovering things that are really important to that individual. Their primary concern might be to provide and care for their family or to protect the small business that they own. Their adviser discovers these things as they are talking through their advice process and then they go away and devise a plan for how that client needs to protect those things that are important to them.

But the disconnect is that clients are then often forced to choose a comprehensive product that includes a lot of things that might not apply to that person’s unique circumstances. It means they might be paying for things that aren’t really going to be meaningful to them in the long run.

So how does the product, MetLife Protect, deal with this problem?

We came up with a different way of categorising what’s on offer so that the insurance is more easily aligned to what’s important to the end customer. Now advisers can choose MetLife Protect’s modular approach, allowing them to build a life insurance product based on those values.

At its most basic, we are making the insurance genuinely client-centric rather than being dictated by the underwriting process. And we’re looking at the entire life-cycle of a client and making it easy for them to update their life insurance as their priorities change.

What does that mean in practice?

Almost always with the comprehensive products in the market, clients are paying for things built into the contract that are specific to family needs or to business needs. This sort of approach means that you can’t really drive towards sustainable premiums in the long-term because people are paying for things that they don’t necessarily need.

The MetLife Protect product means that as clients move through their life phases, instead of having to cancel a product and rewrite an entirely new one, we can easily add on or remove an extras package if that is what’s going to be appropriate for them.

So, what are the key segments that MetLife Protect has been designed for?

We’ve looked at three main life events to decide our key segments – young families, small business owners and older customers looking to protect their wealth.

And how do the modules differ according to those segments?

There are a host of ways the modules can be put together to tailor them to an individual’s needs. For example, comprehensive products often provide built-in benefits to families if they have a sick child or if someone needs to be off work for a period of time looking after a child. But if you’re an older couple, it’s not fair that you’re often forced to include that in your basic contract.

Likewise, advisers who are working with a small business owner are looking at what they need to do to cover them for their personal needs as well as their business. If they are looking at both of those types of cover, traditionally they have to set up exactly the same policies – life cover, TPD, trauma, IP – but with have a different purpose. And sometimes, it might not be clear as to what that purpose is. With MetLife Protect, there is the option to include or ignore modules relevant to business or personal benefits.