In researching this article I contacted a range of insurers, technology firms and advisers inviting them to suggest or recommend the protection tools they think are the best.
I have never had quite so many emails from insurers quite so quickly. In fact if we had more time - and a longer word count - we may have had enough suggestions for a top 100, let alone a top ten.
Most insurers have a range of online tools including cover and budget calculators as well as other useful information on their websites. Calculators to help work out a client’s budget or how much cover they need can easily be found, along with a wide range of sales aids and tips.
Personally though, I wonder if the protection industry is stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to technology. There are some very good tools being used by some tech-savvy advisers, but at the same time the bigger picture perhaps suggests a lack of genuine game-changing technology. The majority of new business still being written in the same way it has been for decades, albeit online rather than on paper.
Other markets may have adopted technology more quickly, but no one can expect protection to be exempt from the digital revolution forever.
Here we look at ten of the best online protection tools currently available for intermediaries, starting with some of the most popular suggestions from advisers.
The brainchild of Hertfordshire IFA Alan Lakey of Highclere Financial Services, the CI Expert website aims to provide research and comparison tools to assess the best critical illness policies available in the market.
The data focuses on the definitions used for each condition by each insurer and steers clear of price. The website also stores claims data as well as historical policy definitions, allowing old policies to be compared with newer ones.
Alan Lakey has operated as a financial adviser for over 30 years and in that time he has established a reputation in the industry for championing issues that he feels strongly about, from CI definitions and the importance of protection to regulation and the RDR. His work has been acknowledged by multiple accolades that he has been awarded over the years.
Michael Aldridge from London & Country says: “Quite simply there is no greater or more in depth database of past and present CI contracts and definitions available – an essential tool for anyone advising on Critical Illness Cover today.”
Bright Grey’s ‘magic circle’ website is another hit with advisers. It provides a range of generic sales aids that can be ‘white labelled’ and branded as your own, giving intermediaries their own marketing material to help build their protection business.
Emma Thomson, life office relationship director at protection intermediary LifeSearch, comments: “Rather than just talking about what they can offer themselves, Bright Grey has produced a number of generic sales aids about the overall value of protection, with the added bonus that IFAs can white label them with their own logos and contact details.”