What extras have been added to the policy? Are they all needed? Some Insurers offer add on benefits, some of which are very useful, but make sure that you know what you’re paying for and ask what it means if you’re not sure.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lee Rhodes. Lee is a Mortgage & Insurance Advisor and the Founder of Rhodes Advisory Services LLP, he has over 13 years of experience in Financial Services. So far this year Lee has helped clients raise over £8m in mortgages and has arranged Insurances including Life Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and Buildings and Contents Insurance for many of his Clients. His company, Rhodes Advisory is an appointed representative of Openwork, one of the largest Financial Advice Networks in the UK.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It was kind of an accident, in the summer of 2005 I left a job in the recruitment industry without much of a clue as to what I was going to do next. My father ran a Financial Services Business and offered me a couple of weeks work helping out in the office to cover staff holidays. I finally left in 2016, 11 years later!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I can’t think of any funny mistakes, although I can think of some non-funny ones that I couldn’t dare repeat. In terms of lessons though, I think it’s so important to know your business and its specialism inside and out. Just because I’m a qualified Mortgage and Protection Advisor, it doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about Mortgages and Protection. I am constantly learning, reading, discussing and asking questions. I love what I do, so it makes it much easier to immerse myself in it. My wife thinks I’m a geek, because even at home on the couch I’m reading about Mortgages or Insurance, I’m currently also studying for the Equity Release qualification.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I started Rhodes Advisory a year ago, it has been an amazing first year, my close friend Jonathan came on board as a Partner a couple of months ago and together we have an amazing vision of growing the business. But… we genuinely want to continue the personal approach we give to our Clients; no robots or conveyor belt advice. We give a personal, detailed approach to every Client that we advise.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?
I think it might have been a few months after starting with my Father. I could see I was already making a difference to the company which helped the staff and Clients. I guess the lessons to takeaway are that although my Father had been running his business successfully for 25 or 30 years before I joined him, all businesses need to embrace change and technology to keep pace with the competition and new entrants into the market place. Especially in Financial Services.
What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?
You have to switch off sometimes. It’s hard, in this modern day of emails and internet it is so hard not to look at work in the evenings, at weekends or even on holiday, but it is important to have some personal and family time and to give yourself a bit of a break.
As an “insurance insider”, you know much more about insurance than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to buy a policy from another person, which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing to a policy? Can you give an example or story for each?
1. What is actually covered? The devil is in the detail with Insurance and the cheapest can often mean you’re not paid out as you would expect, or certain things aren’t covered as standard.
2. Which Insurers does the Advisor work with? Some Advisors are “single tied” meaning they only offer products from one Insurer. While I have no issues with Advisors working from a Panel of Insurers, I do think you need to look at different options for your Clients.
3. On longer term policies for example life / critical illness / income protection insurances, are the premiums guaranteed for the life of the policy? If not, they may be cheap and appealing now, but they are likely to increase substantially as you get older.
4. If someone is suggesting that you cancel an insurance policy to take one out through them, have they told you the reasons why and have they given you a detailed comparison? They may be able to offer you something cheaper, but are you loosing out on crucial benefits that you would have got had you kept the old policy.
5. What extras have been added to the policy? Are they all needed? Some Insurers offer add on benefits, some of which are very useful, but make sure that you know what you’re paying for and ask what it means if you’re not sure.
Insurance agencies or companies are often known to be very creative and innovative marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I’m not sure it is clever or innovative, but ask my Clients why they are happy with my service and I think most will tell you that it is because they are dealing with me or my colleague personally, we don’t hand the Client off to a call centre or administration team. We handle the case from beginning to end. We therefore know what is happening all of the time, and can give real time updates to the Client when it is important.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Well my dad accidently gave me a chance 13 years ago and we never looked back. He’s always supported me in my business career and I couldn’t be more grateful, we still speak about twenty times a day and have a wonderful friendship.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am a huge believer in being nice to people! Ask anyone who knows me, I’ll do a favour for anyone anytime that I can. So, I’d like to inspire the “being nice to each other movement” help where you can and who you can, surely that would make the world a better place!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
About the Author:
Matt Schmidt is the founder of DiabetesLifeSolutions.com which specializes in helping people with diabetes find affordable life insurance. Matt founded the company after his father was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. He is also founded Diabetes365.org to provide helpful information for those living with diabetes. Matt is also pre-diabetic.