PCH Consultant Q&A May 2014 – Les Schroeter

This month we chatted with Les Schroeter, one of our outstanding consultants and head of individual protection about his time in the industry, what expertise he anticipates people needing in the coming years and where he sees the industry going as a result of recent trends…

Hi Les… Tell us a little bit about yourself, your life and how you got into industry?

I thoroughly enjoy helping people to find ways to protect themselves, their families and their business from the effect of life changing illness or death. In 1995 after qualifying and practicing as a civil engineer for the previous 10 years, I decided to change profession as jobs in the building industry started to diminish.

With a young family I wasn’t prepared to move abroad with my then employer so I took a job with the UKs leading Independent Health Insurer.  It is a decision I have never regretted. It wasn’t long before I made the conscious decision to pursue a future career in Financial planning and particularly all aspects of personal and business protection insurance.

Sounds like a match made in heaven… What are your specialist areas of expertise?

I specialise in helping individuals and businesses in identifying gaps in their protection needs and to then advise on the most appropriate products and method of resolving such a protection need.

I concentrate primarily on business protection (Share holder protection, Key Person cover, Executive Income protection) but I do have a natural passion for protecting families against serious and critical illness, while ensuring families can protect and maintain a good standard of living.

That is no doubt huge as we look to the future… So who can benefit most from your expertise?

The owners partners, directors and managers of small to medium companies wanting to protect their business from a key member of their staff dying or becoming critically ill. Therefore facing the prospect of finding and recruiting a replacement member of staff temporarily or permanently while maintaining the viability and profitability of the company.

The same applies to company shareholders wanting to protect their interest in a business for their families and/or beneficiaries. My passion for talking to families, parents and even single individuals are based on both professional and personal experience.

Give us the 3 most important tips for people looking for advice and guidance right now?

  1. Recognise the complexity of protection products and seek well researched professional advice.
  2. Advice is always better than price.
  3. Better to have a spread of different covers rather than one very large scheme of a single product.

3 great tips… How do they relate to the key trends you see affecting clients over the next 12 months?

With an improving economy, and the feel good factor, clients may forget their vulnerability and ignore the need for adequate protection. This trend will become ever more so as increased competition in new and more complex products becomes a reality. Rather than the simplified products being discussed, the battle to develop the best product to suit every individuals unique needs and personal situation will become vital.

Thanks Les, and finally… What do you think the Protection insurance industry will look like in 10 years time?

A great question, and one that will evolve as the economy moves… but in essence:

  1. As state dependency reduces, the need for personal and independent protection will become a necessity.
  2. Tighter FCA regulation leading to more professionalism but a decrease in general advisers advising on protection products. Consequentially growth of specialist protection advisers.
  3. Greater use of the Internet to source and analyse business by advisers and more people sourcing simplified personal products on the Internet, with the increased risk of mis-buying and short life span of selected products.