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Consumers won’t pick up the tab for life advice

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Nearly 30% of consumers are unwilling to pay out-of-pocket fees for life insurance advice, according to a Rice Warner study.

The research – conducted for insurer Zurich – found only 8% of respondents are willing to pay more than $1000, but 93% of advisers would need to charge more than this.

Almost two-thirds of advisers have indicated they would need to charge $2000 or more, yet no consumers surveyed are willing to pay that amount.

The research illustrates the challenge should life insurance commissions be outlawed by the corporate regulator following its 2021 review of the sector – a move recommended by the Hayne royal commission.

Zurich CEO Life and Investments Tim Bailey says mandating an out-of-pocket fee will put life insurance beyond reach for most people, and at the worst possible time.

He says commentary since the royal commission highlights a lack of understanding of the sector and the relationship between major channels and product types.

The standardisation of upfront commissions under the Life Insurance Framework has addressed the fear of bias towards products or higher-paying product providers, he says.