How can campaigns help boost protection advice?


    If there’s one thing the protection industry likes it’s a campaign. ‘Everyone should do this’; ‘nobody should do that’. Or words to that effect.

    Ironically, the protection industry is a bit of a well kept secret. It does not set out to be low profile, but it is. It is not promoted very well and sales in recent years have generally been flat.

    But many of those within the industry take it incredibly seriously, often believing it to be far more important than any asset allocation model and to some extent more important than any other area of financial services full stop.

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    When perceived poor practice is found – anything which could be damaging to the customer – there is always a righteous adviser - or a group of incandescent intermediaries - who will seek out ways of stamping out the bad behaviour. At least until the regulator gets around to it anyway.

    From a sales perspective the long term protection insurance market was ‘stable’ in 2012, according to Swiss Re’s Term & Health Watch 2013. The highlight of the year was income protection sales having risen 8.7 per cent, with limited benefit plans now making up one in four sales. Mortgage term sales were also up by 7.9 per cent, although Whole of Life sales fell.

    Advertising has seen a very different trend. The total amount spent on online advertising across all industries in the UK in 1997 was just £8.1m; it was estimated to be £4.8bn in 2011.

    Given the protection sector and protection advice are not promoted very well and yet somehow needs to get positive messages out there, a campaign can be a cost effective way of helping to get the message across to a wider audience. As long as there is always a consumer centric aim at its core, which invariably there always is, the media will often lend their support.

    Advisers tend to agree. Alan Lakey of Highclere Financial Services says: “We need campaigns to reinforce the value of advice as opposed to self-serve, because those with the biggest budgets are unlikely to say it for us.”

    Campaigns come in various guises and there are many different definitions of the word itself. One of the better ones is perhaps this: “A series of coordinated activities, such as public speaking and demonstrating, designed to achieve a social, political, or commercial goal.” Throw in a bit of PR and that sums it up pretty well.

    Here we take a look at some of the protection campaigns over the last 10 years, focusing on their intentions, the level of success they enjoyed and their enduring legacy. Let us know if you think a campaign is doing good and should continue - or indeed be resurrected - and what you think the advice sector and providers can do in the future to boost the profile of protection.

    Protection on the TV