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Big Read

Q2 - June 2018 - Collated by Peter Le Beau

Boring....or vital?

Despite my slow fade into retirement I still occasionally meet senior figures from the industry and to my delight they occasionally recognise me and throw me a scrap or two given my lowly status as a pensioner! Retiring from the industry is on one level very easy but on the other almost impossible. Certainly I never want to  retire emotionally from the industry.

You can withdraw from the industry but issues still follow you around and invite your input . Recently I had dinner  with some senior industry figures , one of whom  who to my surprise, described the protection industry as boring. He was being flippant and deliberately perpetuating the cliche so often put forward by those without an intimate knowledge of what we do. My point is that while I can see what might incline someone to hold that view it’s not one that I’ve ever held. The reason is that what we look after is so important and so precious to people that it is hard to view it in a disembodied way as just another financial transaction.

I think protection  people lack confidence in the value of our product and this discourages us from taking a more robust line in defending what we provide. I make no apologies for spending my life working in an industry that  helps so many people . My faith was augmented by my experience running the Seven Families project . What we did there was to remind people how much income protection helped people with major health challenges—and not just in a financial sense. Critical illness can also fundamentally change the financial and emotional perspective of sick people

Life insurance can’t bring relief to people in their own lifetime but speak to anyone recently bereaved as you help them to pay off their mortgage or provide financial security for their family and see if they think that is boring ! I think it’s high time we stopped being so defensive about what we do and citing real examples of lives  either changed or hugely facilitated by the help we provide. The left- brain introvert personality ( if that’s the right word!) that we project has served us so poorly. It’s led to misguided decisions and an inability to take a proactive approach to describing what we provide. 

It’s time that stopped. If it doesn’t we will never change the public perception of what we do.


Q1 - March 2017 - Collated by Kevin Carr

The UK protection market is booming.

Or at least, according to most sources, it is growing nicely. And about time too.

What is driving the growth?

Could it be technology, portals, comparison sites, consumer confidence (or lack of), claims stats, Seven Families, Martin Lewis, new products, more partnerships, cheaper rates, better underwriting, mortgage advisers, networks, Brexit, Peter Le Beau’s retirement… or perhaps all of the above?

To find out what what’s really going on we asked a range of industry experts including Aviva, Alan Lakey, iPipeline, UnderwriteMe, OPAL, Gen Re and Zurich for the low down on what’s really driving the recent market growth, whether it is sustainable, and how we can make it last.

Q4 - October 2017 - Collated by Roger Edwards

At the Protection Review Conference in July 2017, several themes emerged from the speeches and panel debates. As an industry, we need to "Be simpler, more human and braver". It's all very well saying that but what does it mean? 

In the latest Big Read, Roger Edwards collects together some thoughts on how we can be all those things.


More human:


Q2 - June 2017 - Collated by Jo Miller

In the latest Big Read Jo Miller asks whether we have an appetite to do things differently in the protection market. She considers the product development process, the feedback from the recent Adviser Round Table, genetics and lessons from global giant, Amazon. Jo says in her summary article, "Protection insurance isn't immune to a fundamental re- engineering, in fact, I'm saying that's exactly what it needs. That's not because it isn't a wonderful thing, it's because not enough people realise it's a wonderful thing."

Q1 - February 2017 - Collated by Peter Le Beau

In the latest Big Read Peter Le Beau looks at trends and predictions for the protection market and underwriting in 2017.

Q4 - November 2016 - Collated by Kevin Carr

For the November Big Read, Kevin Carr shines a spotlight on customer engagement.

Q3 - August 2016 - Collated by Roger Edwards

We've revamped our Big Read pages. No more PDFs so it's easy to read these great articles on mobile devices. And you'll find a video to watch in Scottish Widows article on mortgage protection.

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