Meeting Sean Hanlon, Executive Director, BrightRock

  • Q: How did you get involved in financial services - was it always something you wanted to do?
  • A: I was a school teacher before I got into financial services in 1991. I initially got into it because I thought it had exciting career opportunities. I joined Liberty as an associate financial adviser and, as I rose up the ranks there, I came to appreciate the value of good advice more and more. I became very passionate about the life insurance industry. Insurance is about protecting the people that are most important in your life. It gave me a platform to help people make the best financial decisions for their families.

  • Q: How competitive is the local long-term insurance market - does this benefit the end user?
  • A: The South African long-term insurance industry is highly competitive. We’re world leaders when it comes to innovation and product development. BrightRock was born out of the need to give consumers the most cutting-edge needs-matched solutions in market. We’re constantly moving forward with our product development and the way we interact with our policyholders. So yes, I think that the competitive nature of our industry definitely benefits the user in the end.

  • Q: What makes a good long-term insurance product?
  • A: There are many elements that make a good life insurance product. Transparency is one of them; clients must be aware and understand the products they are buying. A lot of products in the market today are based on price instead of quality. The client should be able to get value for their premiums and that makes the product more sustainable long-term. The needs and risks of clients change as their lives change and their insurance policies should change with them. When clients buy insurance policies based on price instead of value, they lose out in the end.

  • Q: How (and why) important are independent financial advisers to the SA financial services industry?
  • A: Quality financial advice as a whole is essential in our industry. Clients need advisers who’ll be able to help them plan for their future while taking all of their needs into account. Independent financial advice helps clients because they know that the person who’s giving them the advice isn’t incentivised to sell one product over another. The value of independent financial advisers in our industry is that they keep the industry as a whole honest and accountable to the end-user.

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