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5 Secrets Your Financial Advisor Won’t Tell You

Have we any secrets here at

I don’t think so.

We try to be as transparent as possible.

We’re the only broker who publishes how much we get paid and by whom

How brokers get paid

And where we place our business for our clients nationwide.

Most brokers wouldn’t have an issue if you asked them the same questions – go ahead and try.

The ones that clam up probably have something to hide, some dirty secrets, like these 5:

1) I can only advise on policies from one insurance company

Imagine you walk into a car showroom and spot an Audi that you fancy.

You walk up to the salesperson and ask him to take it for a test drive.

“No can do, I’m afraid” he replies
“Not allowed to sell Audi’s. Only FIATs. How about this one? It’s the same colour….and cheaper!”

You wouldn’t be very happy, would you?

In life insurance, such salespeople are called tied agents as they are tied to one company.

An agent tied to New Ireland can only sell policies from New Ireland.
Someone working in AIB, KBC, PTSB and Ulster Bank can only advise on products from Irish Life.
Someone working in the Bank of Ireland can only advise on Bank of Ireland products.

When you’re shopping around for life insurance, make sure you can access products from all 6 life insurance providers.

Otherwise, you’re missing out.

2) I don’t deal with all the life insurance companies

Back at the car showroom, you really want to take the Audi for a spin, so you ask another salesperson to help you out.

“Sorry, can’t help you with the Audi” is his reply.
“How about this FIAT or Ford or Volvo? They’re all the same colour….and cheaper!”

Hmmm, more choice here, but still not what you really want.

There are five major life insurance companies in Ireland.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Ask your insurance broker how many of these companies he deals with.

His answer may surprise you.


Even some of the largest online “brokers” in Ireland don’t deal with all 5 insurers.

3) I deal with all 5, but I give all of my business to my buddy

Meanwhile, back at the car showroom, you finally find someone who can take you for a test drive in the Audi.

“But I have to say the Volvo is much better, it’s the same colour….and it’s cheaper!” she says
“But I want the Audi” you say
“Are you sure? My customers LOVE Volvos” she says

This is a common problem with life insurance brokers.

They get comfortable dealing with one insurer, so recommend them without even thinking:

  • is this the best policy for my client
  • are they the most sympathetic insurer for my client’s health issues
  • do they offer the benefits that are most important to my client

But what if that insurer pays the most commission to the broker?

Or the broker gets so comfortable dealing with one preferred insurer that she takes her eye off the ball and doesn’t offer you a better product available at a different insurer?

It can easily happen.

Make sure to ask the broker for a breakdown of where they place their business.

Some will refuse to give it to you.

You can take this as a warning that they’re not as independent as they make themselves out to be.

As you can see from our previous posts, we share our business around

The insurance company we use most is Zurich Life. They’ve been the market leader in life insurance for the past number of years, so we’ve been happy to recommend them.

But Aviva is catching up quickly.

Don’t be fooled by the broker saying that all policies are the same.

It’s a lie.

You can compare what’s on offer at each life insurance provider below:

Life insurance comparison

Mortgage protection comparison

Income protection comparison

Serious illness comparison

For example, if they don’t deal with Aviva, they cannot offer dual mortgage protection (a policy that will pay out on both deaths, not just the first one).

Aviva is the only insurer that offers this.

Aviva also offers the best income protection cover in Ireland.

4) I am just selling you the cheapest policy, not the best

Some brokers will input your details (age, amount of cover you require, over how many years) into a calculator, hit a button and hey presto, the calculator spits out the cheapest quote, and that’s what you get.

But you never get to see what’s on offer from the other insurers.

As you know, the cheapest is never the best, especially when it comes to protecting your family.

You should choose the most suitable policy based on the benefits the life insurance company offers – not just on price alone.

5) I’m emigrating, retiring, changing jobs next year

It’s all well and good getting advice when you buy your policy, but life insurance isn’t something you should buy once and forget about forever.

Your needs change as you get older; if you get married, if you have children, change jobs etc.

What happens when you return to your broker to review your policy only to find he no longer works there or has retired.

Do you want to start all over again with a new advisor?

This is my company, and I’m not going anywhere because nothing pleases me more than to see a familiar email address pop up in my inbox returning to us for advice.

It shows we’re doing something right…as do our client ratings:

Over to you…

Hopefully, that gives you an insight into how to avoid the most common mistake when buying life insurance – not using an independent specialist life insurance broker.

Let me know if you need any help by giving me a quick outline using the form below.

I’ll get you that Audi you want.


Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier

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057 93 20836

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