Friends Provident International (FPI) will be rolling out a new strategy targeting UK, US and Australian expats in February.
Following on from the launch of FPI’s initiative for non-Indian residents (NRIs) in March, the Isle of Man-headquartered life company has been conducting research on Western expats to obtain insight into attitudes, behaviours, hopes and fears of the different client groups.
The research will be put together into a final protection proposition package that consists of product enhancements that improve tax efficiency and estate planning if a customer decides to return to their home country, as well as tailored marketing and customer services to target expatriates from the different customer segments.
Although UK and Australian clients can receive advice on savings, investment and protection products, US customers are only targeted for protection.
Using its NRI strategy as a template, the scheme will cover relevant investment topics and will aim to show how FPI products can meet the “key needs” of its clients, including how products are taxed on death or on encashment in their home country. Spokespeople from the business who represent each demographic will also be on hand to talk about how they manage their own financial planning.
Next year’s development will see a revision of the website, which FPI said will “attract and retain our key expat target customers, who will be able to find out more information about our offering and how it relates to them before talking to an adviser”.
“One size fits all”
Head of global expatriate propositions at FPI, Philip Cernik, said it is important to start with the customer rather than the product in order to add “real value” to the regional segments.
“The big challenge from my perspective is that the industry is a bit behind the curve when it comes to treating customers well, and no one has been adequately voicing the customer,” he said. “Providers owe it to customers to tell the customer if they are targeting them.
“Each nationality has its own profile, cultural preferences, tax treatment which need to be addressed differently, but often this isn’t happening today in the international life insurance space, and instead it’s a case of one size fits all.”
Cernik said, however, that FPI has taken a different approach to many international life companies by “align[ing] itself along customer lines” and establishing teams dedicated to serving specific client groups.
He said: “Propositions which resonate strongly with the customer are easier for advisers to promote and those that truly meet the needs of the customer are more likely to remain on the books as well.”