Putting advisers in the driver’s seat with the NEOS Experience

1 September 2020

NEOS Q&A: Brett Yardley and Michael Dinnes

Three years ago a seed was planted by some of the brightest (and most frustrated) minds in the industry to set a new standard in life insurance by building a focused life insurance business, where advisers were partners and customer needs drove solutions.

Since then, we’ve not just launched an insurance business, we’ve been able to partner with thousands of advisers and help protect more than 15,000 Australian lives, all with a smile and a bit of fun along the way.

We asked our Managing Director, Brett Yardley to check in with one of our early adopters, Michael Dinnes from Austbrokers Financial Solutions, to see how well we’re doing.

BY: Your practice, Austbrokers Financial Solutions is a leading national advice practice based in Queensland, and you’re one of their top performing advisers. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and the business?

MD: Austbrokers Financials Solutions is part of the AUB Group which is a general insurance broker network listed on the ASX.

The primary focus of the partner businesses of AUB Group is general insurance broking. As a result, Austbrokers Financial Solutions assists the general insurance clients with all of their personal insurance requirements. As the breadth of the network is vast, our clients range from family run businesses all the way up to ASX listed entities.

I have been with the business for two years, working as an adviser primarily focusing on growing new business.

BY: We understand the heavy compliance burden on writing life insurance. Whilst we can’t control this as a product provider, how can we make your life easier and how can we help reduce your cost to serve from your first interaction with NEOS?

MD: The speed in which NEOS completes pre-assessments and applications assist drastically reduces the cost to serve. It makes a big difference when we can get comprehensive pre-assessments completed on the same day they are submitted.

Through the nature of  our business, we get a lot of clients that require cover to be implemented ASAP in order to satisfy loan covenants or as a requirement for an employment contract.

Last month I had a client who required an income protection policy ASAP in order for his business to commence a large contract on a regional mining site. We submitted the application to NEOS on Thursday morning, it was underwritten later that morning and was in-force by mid afternoon.

We were expecting a longer time frame as the client had a few health factors that needed to be considered, however the underwriter just phoned the client directly and got all of the additional information he required in order to complete the assessment. The client was extremely happy we were able to get it done so quickly.

I’ve also had several other examples over the last 12 months where the client has completed their tele-interview in the morning and the policy is underwritten and in-force later that afternoon. This clearly allows us to service more of our clients in a timely manner.

BY: One of our founding principles in building NEOS was to support advisers. In your experience, how has NEOS put you in the driver’s seat with your clients? 

MD: As mentioned above, I think the speed in which NEOS completes pre-assessments and applications puts us in the driver’s seat with our clients. Clients appreciate efficient and friendly processes and NEOS definitely assists with this.

I think the focus on getting the basics right also helps a lot. The product is simple and competitive, scoring highly in research comparisons, which is critical when considering a client’s best interests.

We also get good old-fashioned service. I have a great working relationship with my BDM, Michelle Dolan, who I speak with at least weekly, as well as James Duval my dedicated underwriter and Vicki Shen, my dedicated service consultant.

Underwriting is fast and the questions are clear and easy for clients to understand and the underwriter will pick up the phone to gain additional information if required to resolve matters quickly.

By making the entire experience with NEOS seamless, it reflects on us as advisers because we are able to pass on these efficiencies to our clients and deliver them the service they expect.

BY: In today’s world of Uber and Netflix, doing business digitally is a given – something that’s been amplified by COVID-19. How well do you think NEOS is keeping up with digital trends and changes in consumer behaviours?

MD: These trends have definitely reduced society’s attention span and I think NEOS has done a good job at making their documentation really simple for the client to understand.

The application, the terms and even the policy schedule are really easy for clients to interpret. Historically we have a lot of client enquiries that relate to client’s misunderstanding correspondence that they receive from insurers, in reality lots of the correspondence is poorly worded.

The digital first approach is also common-sense – it’s made it much easier to support clients throughout COVID by not requiring wet signatures. The online quote and application portal is also really easy and efficient to use.

BY: Finally, how do you compare the NEOS Experience with any other insurer providers you work with?

MD: I think the major difference with NEOS compared to many other providers within the market is that NEOS appreciates the role in which the adviser plays. As an adviser, we own the relationship with the client which I think many providers forget.

This is clearly understood by NEOS as things are not only made straightforward for the client but also the adviser.

Michael Dinnes is an adviser at Austbrokers Financial Solutions. You can find out more about their practice at abfs.com.au.