• Nicholas Hatherly

AFRM Client Newsletter Q1 2019

Originally published March 2019

Welcome to 'It's Your Life' - the AFRM Client newsletter.


In mid-February, I sent a communique to AFRM’s clients specifically addressing the findings of the Hayne Royal Commission.


In that note I expressed the belief that in the wake of the findings of the Royal Commission there is nothing AFRM needs to change in the way we service our customers – for the simple reason that we have always held our customers’ best interests as our highest priority.


With the current mood of public distrust, it is perhaps fair to say we knew there’d be few other companies in the financial services sector as confident of the quality of the customer service our team members provide.


I am absolutely delighted to report that note received numerous votes of confidence from AFRM’s client base. We received a number of exceptionally warm and positive notes from our clients.


A selection of those client comments follows:

“In fact, I cognitively did not put your business in with the rest of those considered by the Royal Commission. “Your service is soooo client centred, I have never ever had the slightest doubt of the integrity of your service. “This is why AFRM is always recommended to my junior colleagues when they are just starting out... I have a collection of stories....no they are not all mine.”
“Thank you for being on the front foot about the Royal Commission.... but I never thought it applied to AFRM.”
“As always, many thanks for your ongoing guidance, tolerance and support.”
“Thank you for your considered email.
“I agree with many of your points and, speaking of my own experience with AFRM, most recently with Huy Pham, l have only ever felt that my interests were front and centre." (This client did go on to say he believes we should charge fees, but that’s another topic…)
“Musci is looking after me perfectly (although, can you do something about those bloody premiums!!!)”
“Well said mate. A considered, thoughtful yet positive response.”

For the sake of balance, I also note we did receive one message suggesting I was “delusional” from a client who was dissatisfied with insurance premium increases and who expressed the mistaken view that AFRM chooses insurance cover for our clients based upon levels of commission earned. This is not the case.


Insurance premium increases are currently happening across the board in Australia. These increases are out of AFRM’s control. However, we will continue to provide you with the best advice we can on how to best mitigate your potential future financial risks. Increases in price don’t change the risks you have insured against, but we understand it affects affordability.


Don’t just cancel your policy. You may still need it and may not get it back in the future if your health has changed. Speak to one of our advisers about what we may be able to do to adjust your premiums, or potentially move that cost to another funding source, like superannuation or another option that suits your personal circumstances. It is definitely worth a discussion with your adviser before acting.


We are proud of the fact that we stand by our clients when the time comes to make a claim. To date, we have achieved more than $150m in client claims paid.


I contacted everyone who responded and thanked them for their comments. We encourage feedback from our clients in order to ensure our service meets their expectations.


Finally, please take a few moments to read the following brief case study which; we hope; demonstrates that the lines above are not mere rhetoric. At AFRM, we practice what we preach.

Until next time, live Your Life well!


Sincerely,

Nicholas Hatherly

Managing Director AFRM

Case Study


“When you get diagnosed with a terminal illness or a permanent disability the last thing you want to have to do is worry about an insurance claim or gathering information to make it.”

Imagine having a wife and young family, a demanding high-level professional career, then being diagnosed with a terminal illness and told you perhaps have only 12 months left to live.


Imagine living with that “death sentence” hanging over your head for another 16-years as you continue to strive to work to provide for your young family, your ability to work is diminished over time and you are undertaking exhausting treatments to deal with your medical condition.


That is the awful scenario that John [name changed to protect client privacy] has had to deal with since his original brain tumour diagnosis in 2003.


To make matters worse, John’s initial attempts to claim on insurance through his then financial adviser were unsuccessful.


John was not an AFRM client but people who knew what we do suggested he reach out to us - and that is exactly what he did back in 2016.


After hearing what John had been going through, we took up his case and proceeded to resume the insurance claims process on his behalf.


By July 2017, we succeeded in achieving a $998,000 Terminal Illness claim for him and by August the same year we had been successful in getting further claims approved which resulted in John ultimately receiving a total of in excess of $2.27 million in claims payments.


At the time, John kindly provided the following words to describe the service and support provided to him by AFRM:

          “When you get diagnosed with a terminal illness or a permanent disability the last            thing you want to have to do is worry about an insurance claim or gathering            information to make it.           “Rob Vitnell [General Manager of AFRM Victoria] and his team took over that task            for me. They kept me constantly informed and updated me as to the progress of            my claims.           “In the last week, I received notification my claims have been successful.”           “As a result, I no longer have to worry about my family’s security, or the financial            future for them, which is a great relief and something I really appreciate.”

AFRM’s, Rob Vitnell, spoke about the personal satisfaction felt after achieving the best possible outcome for someone like John:

          “When I called to tell him, he could barely speak. …just enough to thank us for our advice and hard work in fighting these insurance claims for him and his family.
          “The main take away from my conversation with John was that we had provided his family with ‘choices’; that they would now have ‘no debts’ and after all those years of continuing to work through exhausting medical treatments, there was now a chance that perhaps he wouldn’t have to work anymore. He said it was ‘a massive weight off my shoulders.’
          “It was powerful stuff!
          “It is immensely gratifying to know that our work makes a huge difference in people’s lives.”
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