Product design and product reviews are two issues that affect us every single day, yet we seldom give them much thought – other than to praise or criticise where that’s due.
In this issue of Big Read, as guest editor, I wanted to get behind the processes and, working with the rest of the team at Protection Review, we asked a few of our key industry contacts for their contributions to the debate. I’m delighted with the results and hope you will be too.
Holloway Friendly’s founder George Holloway not only established the friendly society, but he also was the founder of what we now know as long term income protection. Holloway remains an IP specialist and, as a relatively small provider, has to do things differently. Martin Sincup’s insights on their product development process make fascinating reading.
Contrast that with the views of Jennifer Gilchrist of Royal London. Her company is one of the giants of the industry, so its perspective is different. It is also one of the more innovative insurers and covers more product types, so Jennifer’s insights again make fascinating reading.
Reinsurance is an important partner to protection insurers in so many ways and Kuen Chik of Pacific Life Re explains how reinsurers support their clients. Reinsurance is an odd fish, inasmuch as its customers are the insurers, not the end customer. How does that affect their approach to product design?
Although insurers do deal direct with their customers, most protection business comes through intermediaries, so how involved are intermediaries in the process?
Added value benefits are a key element of pretty much every new or updated product or service these days (and quite right too!) and Jo Throp of Krysalis gives her angles on the issues for them.
Finally, we needed an adviser’s view and who better to give that than Alan Lakey. Best known to many as the guy behind CIExpert, he’s much more than that and his views should make us all sit up and take note.
Finally – I’ve added a couple of sections myself. So, we end this Big Read with a brief history of product reviews in our sector. Protection Review team members have played a key part in that for almost 30 years and we continue to provide what we hope and believe are valuable views about new and updated products.
But first up is maybe an indulgence on my part – but bear with me. I came into this wonderful industry of ours more than 50 years ago and have been involved in product design for most of that time, and have enjoyed some successes too. So, you might expect rose-tinted glasses when it comes to how we used to design products.
Not so. Product design these days is much more complex and sophisticated, the care and attention to detail is better than ever and the regulator constantly hovers to keep us on the straight and narrow – and rightly so. Today’s buyers of protection get better value, better benefits and are better looked after than ever.
But nothing is ever perfect and that’s one reason why Protection Review continues to monitor, review and comment on what’s happening. You may not always agree with us, or may think we go too far or not far enough, but one essential element is debate and that’s something we’ve tried to encourage since Peter Le Beau and I set up Protection Review back in 2003. I hope you enjoy this latest edition of Big Read.
- The Good Ol’ Days? Er, No! - Andy Couchman, Protection Review
- From the Original to Today - Martin Sincup, Holloway Friendly
- The Creative Art of Protection - Jennifer Gilchrist, Royal London
- Reassured by Reinsurance - Kuen Chik, Pacific Life Re
- Let the Adviser Advise - Alan Lakey, CIExpert
- Money and Marbles - Jo Throp, Krysalis
- A Brief History of… Product Reviews - Andy Couchman, Protection Review
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