The ‘seven families’ project is an ambitious idea from the Income Protection Task Force, which could become one of the most significant industry initiatives of our generation.
The campaign is about real people and it has a simple message at its core; which is that income protection cover can make a huge difference to people’s lives when they really need it.
Put simply, the project will provide a tax-free income for one year to seven families where an earner is no longer working because of a long term sickness or accident.
Raising consumer awareness of illness, long disability and the financial and emotional impact it can have is never easy, and the industry has done very little to promote the benefits of protection insurance to the population.
This campaign will not change things overnight, but it could be a very good start.
How does it work?
The charity Disability Rights UK has been asked to find seven families where the main breadwinner has been forced out of work by an accident or illness and not had any insurance payout.
The recipients will then receive an income for a year as if they had originally bought a short-term IP plan, paid for collectively by a group of insurers supporting the campaign to raise the profile of income protection.
The money will be given on a charitable basis, but paid monthly to replicate what would have happened if they had cover in place originally.
Any project where competing insurance companies pool their resources and throw aside old rivalries, albeit temporarily, for the sake of the greater good will face challenges, however at the time of writing 17 insurers are already confirmed, with more companies expected to confirm their participation this month.
The supporting companies confirmed so far are: Ageas Protect, Aviva, British Friendly, Canada Life, Cardif Pinnacle, Ellipse, Exeter Friendly, Friends Life, Hannover Re UK Life, LV=, Pacific Life Re, PruProtect, RGA, Scor, Scottish Widows, Unum and Zurich.
Simon Read, personal finance editor of The Independent, recently wrote: “Together we can help turn the initiative into something profound that could make a real difference to people’s lives. Let’s not forget that it is probably the first time so many major insurers have worked together for a common purpose and got widespread support for doing so.”
The money, however, is not the only aspect as each family will also have the opportunity to benefit from rehabilitation and counselling services typically associated with IP.
The key element underpinning the initiative is that families will also be provided with vital rehabilitation which could help someone get back to work, whether in their old job, or in a new role more suited to their disability.