"There have been quite a few times when I have spoken to clients and the conversation has been difficult for me."
Aegon UK has extended its customer health and wellbeing service to protection advisers.
This follows feedback from advisers about the difficult and sometimes upsetting conversations they have with clients and their families about health conditions, terminal illness or the tragic loss of a family member.
Protection advisers can now access the health and wellbeing service, provided by Health Assured, which provides confidential counselling and on-demand web and mobile support tools for a range of issues including bereavement, medical diagnosis, emotional health, relationships, family concerns, finances, debt, legal issues, and consumer rights.
Simon Jacobs, head of underwriting and claims strategy at Aegon UK, said: “Advisers have difficult conversations with their clients and their families on a regular basis when they suffer from injuries, serious illnesses or they face the loss of a loved one. Those conversations can take their toll.
“The wellbeing of advisers is key to their clients getting the best advice they can and we would like to help advisers when they might need a bit of additional support.”
Kathryn Knowles, managing director at Cura Financial Services, added: “There have been quite a few times when I have spoken to clients and the conversation has been difficult for me. Clients often share shocking stories of severe physical abuse, PTSD and attempts to take their own lives. When they open up to me they are sometimes reliving the events that they should never need to face again. It’s almost impossible to listen to these stories and not be affected. But at times their life events mirror my own, and I have to make sure that it doesn’t trigger something in me from my past. You have to remain professional at all times.
“Clients speak to you in confidence for your support, you have to remain strong for them. I am lucky to work with my husband so when these conversations happen, I get off the phone, and he is there to listen and support me, but not all advisers have this support in the workplace. It’s incredibly important that advisers learn how to look after themselves too. Aegon opening up their wellbeing service to advisers is a brilliant step to provide necessary support to those at the frontline of advice and I really hope advisers make the most of it.”