Same old, same old, or time to change our approach?

David Mead, CEO of Future Proof asks whether we need to change our approach to protection.

same old, same old, or time to change our approach

As an occasional contributor at and a regular attendee of industry conferences, I have on occasion begun to realise that I am getting an increasing sense of déjà vu.

There is lots of well-meaning discussion about what ‘we’ as an industry can do to grow the market. How can we encourage or even persuade more people to buy protection products which will be there for them and their families in the event that they were unable to work due to ill health, were diagnosed with a critical illness, or God forbid if they were to die?

The industry as a whole has tried many different approaches, including developing more comprehensive policies and covering more and more conditions. Definitions (the small print) have been improved so that the policy holder is more likely to be paid the benefit in the event of a serious incident, such as a heart attack. Developing faster and smarter online application journeys, making it easier for advisers to apply for cover. The welcome publishing of claims statistics has gone some way to re-assuring consumers that claims are paid. Training advisers so that they have the knowledge and confidence to discuss protection with their clients and last but not least the continuous downwards pressure on pricing.

The fact of the matter is, none of these incentives or campaigns seem to be making an impact. Sales of protection policies have largely remained flat for several years.

There are approximately 22,000 financial advisers in the UK. This means there is one adviser for approximately every 2,300 adults. Even if every adviser was discussing protection with every client, it is clear the majority of clients probably never get the opportunity to discuss their concerns and get the important advice that they need. To compound this chronic undersupply of advisers, it is clear that many don’t discuss protection with their clients. This is how we’ve ended up in a place where about 30% of people with a mortgage don’t have even basic life.

There appear to be many reasons why this may be:

As a result of these challenges, many firms are creating partnerships or collaborations and are now introducing their clients to proven Protection specialists. However entering into these relationships needs to be considered carefully and is often seen as a leap of faith. Thorough due-diligence should be carried out. Google searches will also provide a lot of helpful intel about your potential partner, just as TripAdvisor does for so many of us now before we book a holiday.

Key questions to ask a protection specialist would be:

We all have a duty of care to our clients. None of us wants to be told that a client has fallen seriously ill, or has passed away and then to be asked by the client’s family what cover we advised them to set up when we arranged their mortgage or advised them on their pension or investments.

There is a huge untapped potential income that collaboration with a specialist could help you bring on stream. There are millions of people who need protection advice.

Imagine the impact if all 22,000 advisers truly engaged with protection and either arranged cover for their clients themselves, or referred them to a trusted partner?

It could be a real game-changer!

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