The Syndicate Research 2018:Money and health issues worry Britons more than terrorism and Brexit

14/03/18 Category: Press Releases,Category: Latest News

The Syndicate has released its 2018 research report.  The press release can be seen below and you can download the research synopsis here

New research shows just under three quarters of people describe themselves as “in control” financially, but worry about money and health issues

Confidence in protection insurance as a support mechanism is high but people are more likely to depend on their partner and savings
Public has low expectations that insurers will pay claims, but strongly believe they should – sometimes even in the event of non-disclosure
Public acknowledge the need for higher premiums for those with habits affecting their health

The 2018 report from The Syndicate, the research arm of Protection Review, has found that most people feel confident in managing their finances. 45% of the sample said they took an interest in their finances, didn’t postpone financial decisions and didn’t find financial matters confusing. 68% said they were good at managing their money with 71% of the sample describing themselves as “in control” of their finances.


Questions on the financial situation of households provided insights into how comfortable people feel about their current financial situation. Having been presented with many options ranging from macro to micro concerns, the results showed that “Having enough money” and “My health” were selected by 45% of the sample and were significantly more popular as choices than the other options presented, with Terrorism and Brexit at 33%.

The research identified that people’s two main concerns for the future were their health and having sufficient money. The most likely coping mechanism should the worst happen was to ask a partner or family for support. Despite this, 64% of the sample admitted that they would be uncomfortable asking anyone for financial support and 54% suggested that they would try and seek support from other means first to avoid asking for help.

When asked how confident they were that their savings would support them for longer than 6 months in the event of a loss of income due to illness or accident, 68% of the sample expressed confidence in their savings, compared to 88% believing that insurance would offer support if needed.  Insurance was the highest scoring support mechanism with the State scoring 79%.

Kevin Carr, Protection Review CEO, said: “The report shows reasonably high levels of confidence with most people saying they’re in control of their financial situation. However, when more specific questions are asked, any plan B seems far less robust. Likewise, there is initially some negativity about protection insurance, but when asked about what might be helpful in terms of providing financial support, insurance becomes one of the main considerations.”


The research identified trust as a major barrier to the purchase of insurance with many people citing distrust of insurers’ motives as the reason that they didn’t buy the product. 48% of people did not trust that insurers would pay a claim. 53% expressed a preference for savings over protection and price was a key objection with 61% suggesting that products were too expensive.

However, over half of respondents (55%) said that they didn’t like paying into a product that may not be needed, suggesting that the industry’s moves towards offering more tangible benefits such as counselling, rehabilitation and access to remote GPs is a step in the right direction.

Insurers were the least trusted type of organisation among respondents who were asked to say whether they trusted a range of different types of organisation with just 1 in 4 people saying they trusted insurers. Trust increased when people were asked to consider whether they trusted their own insurer (38% did) although insurers scored highest among the types of organisation that people were prepared to share personal data.

Jo Miller of The Syndicate commented: “This year’s research shows evidence of a population with an insurance mindset in terms of planning for the worst and appreciating that insurance can help, while remaining reluctant to actually buy protection. Most of our sample has a plan B in their minds, but when we asked about those plans in detail, many revealed that they didn’t believe their intended ways of coping would support them financially for very long and, in many cases, the idea of actually having to ask for help was an uncomfortable prospect. Many people expressed a clear preference for savings, which we have seen before, but as our analysis shows, almost everyone surveyed would quickly be left vulnerable if relying purely on savings in the event of a loss of income.”


80% of respondents felt accidental life insurance claims should still be paid in full even when someone who claimed to be a non-smoker was subsequently found to be a lifelong smoker. The proportion expecting the claim to be paid fell to 58% if the death was caused by a heart attack but even when the death was attributable to lung cancer, there was still an expectation among 40% of respondents that claims should be settled.

The research also found high levels of agreement among respondents that health and behaviours should be declared at application stage with 72% agreeing that someone should have to declare if they used to smoke 10 cigarettes a day even if they gave up six months ago. 60% said that applicants should let their insurer know if they had registered high blood pressure that was controlled by diet or if they used e-cigarettes without nicotine. 40% of respondents felt that someone should have to declare diabetes that was controlled by diet.

70% of respondents agreed that premiums should be higher for those who smoke, while the study also revealed that 31% people felt that premiums should still be higher for ex-smokers who had quit 5 years ago. Just under half of the sample also felt that there should be implications in terms of higher premiums for social smokers, e-cigarette users and those who had quit the habit less than 5 years ago.

Jo Miller, of The Syndicate commented: “This is the first time we have asked consumers directly for their views on whether claims should be paid in different situations and although the results will be interesting for insurers, they offer us a valuable insight in the way people regard their policy as a contract.

“For many respondents, the very fact that premiums had been paid meant that there was an entitlement for a claim to be settled, even if based on non-disclosure at the application stage.  These findings offer valuable insights into consumer perceptions of insurers and paying claims and suggest how many people overlook the potential for a claim to be assessed once a policy is purchased and therefore regard terms and conditions as a reason to mistrust insurers.”

For further information visit

Media enquiries

Jo Miller, The Syndicate

07957653986     Email:

Kevin Carr, Carr Consulting & Communications  

07887 838811    Email:

Notes to editors

Consumer research carried out online by Opinium on behalf of The Syndicate, via 2003 online interviews with 1000 Protection Insurance holders and 1003 Non-holders from 8th -16th November 2017.


About The Syndicate

Established seven years ago, The Syndicate is a research proposition from Protection Review which seeks to provide consumer insight for the industry to better equip providers, advisers, reinsurers and anyone involved in delivering protection solutions.


About Protection Review

Protection Review is the definitive review of the UK's multi-billion-pound health and protection insurance industry. Protection Review was established in 2003 by its then co-directors Peter Le Beau and Andy Couchman. In 2010 Kevin Carr joined as chief executive. Kevin has since been joined by Jo Miller who heads up The Syndicate and Roger Edwards who leads marketing and summit activity.

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