Apr 25 2022 / Round the Table Magazine
A home for orphans
By Ariana Ubina
The term “orphan client” suggests a great distance between that lone, unsupported person and their new advisor. Yet Peter Kriz Dela Pena Padilla has learned several ways to close the gap while taking over clients left astray by previous financial advisors — including the simple yet potentially overlooked step of researching them on social media.
“It turned out that he went to the same gym, and we had mutual friends, which helped in earning his trust and becoming a client of mine,” the seven-year MDRT member from Makati, Philippines, said of one client. “Researching your orphan clients through social media sometimes makes all the difference.”
Padilla also finds clues to help him understand what matters to the client so he can calibrate his approach (which can be helpful if a client was referred). But research doesn’t just mean pulling up social media accounts; it also means studying their existing insurance policy to understand how to assist the clients moving forward. Offering informed, guided recommendations right away is especially important because many orphan clients, Padilla observed, don’t know much about their policy.
“They know that they have an insurance policy but have no idea about its inclusions,” he said. “Often, they ask me why their friends have critical illness benefits, but they don’t, which I couldn’t explain as the contract had already been signed. Unfortunately, this usually happens when clients are approached by advisors who are close acquaintances and need to close a sale to hit their numbers.
“If this is the case, first walk the client through the policy, offer riders and give updates, if any, on their investments in variable universal life insurance,” he said. “Policy updates are critical for clients who didn’t get to have much communication with their previous advisors.”
Once the financial advisor and the orphan client agree to be partners, it is essential to set expectations between the two parties to avoid any misunderstandings. Padilla makes sure to establish if the client wants a policy review once or twice a year. He also asks if they want to know about his company’s new products and adjusts the frequency of investment updates to the client’s preferred timeline.
As the new advisor, he adds, you may not be able to answer all the client’s questions right away. Yet a client transferring from another advisor is a prime opportunity to immediately demonstrate the level of service clients can expect from you — a key to putting these prospects at ease. Padilla found himself in this situation when an orphan client was referred to him and demanded that he work on his policy even though Padilla was not officially his advisor yet.
“I took on the challenge as a professional and with a sense of duty to my company and satisfied all his requirements. It was worth it,” he said. “I adopted five of his policies, and he’s still my client.”
Chemistry and trust
Of course, Padilla noted, it’s important for advisors to remember that they have the choice to take on these new clients. Chemistry and trust are essential for building a new relationship with a client. Then, following through on what you have established further cements the client’s initial impression of you.
Recently for Padilla, that has meant supporting his clients with his eyes on both the short and long term. Checking on clients through social media has helped identify some who have tested positive for COVID-19 and did not know their policy could assist them. As soon as Padilla saw this, he reached out to the clients to help.
The approach and advice required were different but likewise essential when an entrepreneur client wanted to terminate his policy because his business was not doing well, and insurance no longer felt like a priority.
“I advised him against it and helped him avail the proceeds from his policy’s investment,” Padilla said. “It worked. Today, his business is thriving, and he remains insured.”
Contact: Peter Kriz Padilla email@example.com