A Thoughtful Approach to Risk Management

Photo by Daniel Smyth


People don’t expect a doctor’s assessment of their health and any subsequent recommendations to be exactly the same for every patient. The same can be expected of accountants or contractors who are building a home. These professionals consider personal history, current situation and what the customer hopes to achieve before dispensing personalized advice.

The same personalized experience should be expected from your wealth advisor. Venue sat down with Carl Adkins, CFP®, CWS®, Vice President, Senior  Wealth Advisor at Fort Washington Private Client Group, and learned that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to wealth management, insurance planning and risk management.¹


Venue Magazine: What is your approach to working with clients?

Carl Adkins: It’s all about the clients. We ask questions and listen carefully. We want to hear about their families, their hopes and dreams, and even their fears. We need to know how we can help and we have to earn their trust. These conversations are all part of our personalized wealth planning experience.


Venue Magazine: When it comes to insurance and risk management, how is your approach different?

Carl Adkins: For many people, I believe insurance carries a negative connotation. I hear from clients that they sometimes feel they are being “sold” insurance. We don’t believe insurance should be viewed as a product, and we are adamant that insurance decisions shouldn’t be made in isolation.

We focus on in-depth relationships with every one of our clients. By having a customized wealth plan that represents what’s important to the client, we can make sure that any recommendation or financial decision is in line with the client’s stated goals. All insurance decisions should be a thoughtful part of the client’s overall wealth plan.


Venue Magazine: What are some of the ways you address risk management with your clients?

Carl Adkins: We help them plan for the unexpected. Our team helps clients grow, manage and protect their families’ income and assets. We focus on insuring their income, protecting their families and proactively considering anything that could throw their plan off course.


Venue Magazine: How can insurance plans be customized for each client?

Carl Adkins: We start with their wealth plan. We work diligently to craft insurance strategies that help to properly enhance or protect our clients’ families and wealth. We understand that insurance can be complex, which is why we take the time to educate clients. Clients should understand their insurance strategies and how these coordinate with their other investments. We pride ourselves in our ability to clarify complicated scenarios for our clients.


Venue Magazine: What is a common mistake that you see made in the insurance industry?

Carl Adkins: Not reviewing insurance policies regularly is a common oversight. Some people seem to think insurance is something you can simply put in place and forget about. This can lead to unwanted surprises, from increased premiums, to reduced death benefits or even the policy lapsing. I have reviewed policies for people who were shocked at what they found.


Venue Magazine: What can a client expect during an insurance review?

Carl Adkins: The review process can be enlightening to our clients. We start with a conversation about the original purpose of the policy and how their situation may have changed. We help them understand the current value and status of their policy and what they can expect in the future. It is an educational process.


Venue Magazine: We asked for specific client examples, and he shared several. One was of a recent client interaction with a former executive at an insurance company. After reviewing his existing policy, the client said he was grateful for the insightful explanation. Here is another example.

Carl Adkins: A new client who recently completed an insurance review as part of his comprehensive planning process told me that he did not have a clear understanding of how insurance affected his overall plan. We didn’t recommend any new insurance; we simply educated him on what he had and coordinated it with the rest of his plan.


Venue Magazine: Explain some of the specific ways you use insurance.

Carl Adkins: Insurance can be a powerful tool in an overall wealth plan that can provide protection, leverage and tax efficiency for individuals and business owners. Younger families typically need a death benefit to protect against the loss of earning power.

If leaving a financial legacy is important to a client, insurance can be an effective, tax-efficient way to move wealth to future generations. The rate of return on insurance as an investment for the next generation could be quite compelling. Tax efficiencies can also be relevant when considering supplemental retirement income. Who wouldn’t like to create income that could be hedged against the potential of future tax increases?

Lastly, more and more people are seeing the impact a long-term care event can have on their finances and savings. Many situations are difficult, as clients are learning by watching parents go through it.


Venue Magazine: Once a client develops a plan with you, what are the next steps?

Carl Adkins: Many of the strategies we use require collaboration with the client’s other advisors. We work with accountants and attorneys to advocate on the client’s behalf to make sure there is a seamless plan in place. A client wins when every advisor is on the same page, working together to see the plan come to fruition.


Venue Magazine: What other resources can Fort Washington provide to clients?

Carl Adkins: We want to be the first call clients make to address their needs.

Through comprehensive goals-based planning, we provide proactive strategic advice regarding investments, risk management and tax and estate planning.²

Many people may not know that we are the largest money manager in Cincinnati.³ This provides a distinct advantage for us and our clients. We benefit from Fort Washington’s institutional investment expertise and produce customized investment portfolios, which are thoughtfully coordinated with each client’s plan.

We place extraordinary value in the trust our clients have in us and the long-term relationships we are so fortunate to have with them.


1. Carl Adkins is a licensed insurance agent of an affiliated  company.

2. Fort Washington does not provide tax advice nor is an expert in tax law.

3. Business Courier 2016 Book of Lists – ranked by locally managed assets as of May 2016.


Fort Washington Investment Advisors is located at 303 Broadway, Suite 1200, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 513.361.7600 or visit fortwashington.com.