Paul Haines is an IFA for Dental Financial Associates and has been providing financial advice to members of the Dental profession for nearly 20 years. He discusses the benefits to him and his clients of working with specialist insurer Dentists’ Provident a leading income protection provider for dental professionals.
Having worked with the dental profession for many years, Dental Financial Associates have always valued the importance of specialist providers. Principal Martin Haines has actually been recommending Dentists’ Provident to clients for 30 years. He set up his financial and business advisory company in 2001 with his son Paul Haines joining not long after. Today, working with a wider team, they have a longstanding relationship with Dentists’ Provident, as their go-to income protection provider for their clients.
IFAM: Tell us a bit more about dental financial associates and what services you provide?
PH: We have extensive experience providing financial and business advice exclusively to the dental profession. Since setting up in 2001, we have worked on a fee, rather than a commission basis – about a decade before the current adviser remuneration framework came into existence.
We provide holistic financial advice across all stages of a dentist’s career – from newly qualified dentists to practice owners and retired dentists, including later life planning. We produce fully bespoke financial plans that adapt as our clients’ needs change. We also provide business advice around running a practice including sales and acquisitions.
As a one-stop-shop for all our clients’ needs, we also have a network of high-quality professionals including accountants, solicitors, marketing specialists, business coaches and architects – who can support our clients going forward.
IFAM: You’ve worked with income protection provider Dentists’ Provident your whole career. what are they like to work with?
PH: Dentistry is a highly specialised profession, and the unique combination of mental, physical and technical skills makes dentists more vulnerable to illness or injury than the wider public. This means finding the appropriate cover is a lot more complicated than just finding the cheapest policy or one that has highest STP acceptance rates.
Dentists’ Provident is a mutual insurer that holds on to its longstanding values, whilst staying modern and offering fantastic income protection products. Most of all, they are specialists solely covering our target profession – so, them really understanding dentistry and what the profession needs, in terms of protection and benefits, is of course a real USP for us.
Another big draw is that they offer very good value day one cover. In our experience, their terms and pricing are superior to a number of other insurers.
IFAM: What are the benefits to you, as an IFA, of Dentists’ Provident being a specialist and a mutual insurance company?
PH: As a mutual insurer, Dentists’ Provident is run by its members for its members. The majority of the board is made up of dental professionals, working alongside a strong executive team. They really understand dentistry, know what the members need in terms of protection and benefits and run the business with an eye on the future and definitely not the short term.
Being a Friendly Society, they also offer an excellent Holloway style plan for members, which has provided good long-term investment returns over the years. We often use it alongside pension and ISA planning to diversify our clients’ investment portfolios.
IFAM: Having worked as an IFA for many years, what do you value in a relationship with an insurer?
PH: For us, communication is key in terms of doing business with any insurance provider as well as a robust underwriting and claims process. It’s at these points that our clients will have the most contact with an insurer and in the case of a claim the client could be in a highly stressed state. Our clients trust us, and we of course want our recommended products to deliver when they are needed.
IFAM: From your personal perspective, how is Dentists’ Provident to work with and what provider relationship do they offer you, as an IFA?
PH: When it comes to claims, we find Dentists’ Provident really comes into its own. They offer a slick claims process whilst remembering the client’s needs and truly treating them like an individual.
This can’t always be said for some insurers who very much work in a “tick box” fashion. I have never known any of the team at Dentists’ Provident to “hide behind their desk”. They’re a highly knowledgeable team, professional and always on hand.
From a communication point of view, Dentists’ Provident keep me, as an IFA, informed at every step of the underwriting or claims process. They make sure we’re involved as much as we need to be at all times. Their underwriting team is especially professional and transparent in their processes. We always feel that Dentists’ Provident have been firm but fair in their underwriting process. This means the cover offered is appropriate to the client’s situation and we are confident that in the event of a claim – it will most likely be successful.
IFAM: Why is that so important?
PH: Some income protection providers compete on just price. Sadly, this can be accompanied by poor service or weak initial underwriting and then a scramble at the point of claim, causing heartache and stress at the worst possible time for the clients.
Dentists’ Provident’s underwriting may feel stricter, and while it may be a bit more work at the outset, in my experience, when you need them, they will perform. When explaining it like that, our clients understand.
From an IFA perspective, it’s our job to do the research and due diligence before we approach clients with any recommendations. It’s all about relationships and reliability. With a provider like Dentists’ Provident the reputational risk to us is low, because we have confidence in their process and business model.
IFAM: Have you got examples of what a client has fed back to you about their income protection with yourselves and Dentists’ Provident?
PH: There have been numerous over the years, but one example is a client who needed Dentists’ Provident when she suffered an eye problem, which she initially thought would be temporary.
We have been her financial advisors for many years, and she initially met my father at a Vocational Training day back in 1999. She had been a practising dentist in North Somerset and Cardiff for more than 15 years, when she went off work with her illness. In fact, her condition ended up being permanent and meant she could no longer practise dentistry.
She recently told me: “Having a career ending condition at the age of 40 is not something anyone expects. Dental Financial Associates supported me throughout that difficult time. They helped with both the admin side of the claim and also with personal advice. They were always there to help and listen.
Dentists’ Provident have always been very helpful and made the claiming process very straightforward. They treated me with thought and compassion. I always recommend income protection and I am the perfect example of why dentists need it.”
About Dentists’ Provident
Dentists’ Provident is a leading provider of income protection insurance for dental professionals. Since 1908 our sole objective has been helping them achieve financial security during periods of illness or injury.
We are proud to be a member owned mutual focused exclusively on the dental profession. You remain at the very heart of everything we do and, most importantly, the reason we do it.
We are there when our members need us, from university to retirement and beyond.
Contact our dedicated intermediary consultant Peter Dunn on 020 7400 5710 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Dental Financial Associates
Dental Financial Associates offer financial advice and business planning exclusively to dental professionals. With over 20 years’ experience, they work together with the dental industry and other professional advisers such as accountants and solicitors to help clients meet their financial aspirations.