Opinion  

Pru’s in and out approach to protection

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

When I heard the news about Prudential ditching their stake in Pruprotect my mind went back to the mid-noughties.

In 2005, when I was chief reporter of Financial Adviser, I can remember having to write about Prudential’s comeback in the protection market with enhanced intermediary services and rate cuts.

The company had returned to the market with critical illness, income protection, life insurance and unemployment premium rate cuts, two years after a spectacular fall from near the top of IFA sourcing systems, when it withdrew its acceptance of about 50,000 critical illness applications.

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Despite exciting rates, many advisers I spoke to back then about the return basically said their heads would not be turned no matter what enticing protection product Prudential dangled in front of their nose.

But nobody likes a quitter. This is clearly a lesson that Prudential has learnt.

Advisers have not been caught short this time, and will not have to tell their clients that cover they thought they had secured has been pulled.

Today Prudential sold its 25 per cent stake in Pruhealth and Pruprotect to Discovery Group Europe for a cash fee of £155m.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Prudential said the transaction “will enable Prudential UK to realise its investment [in the Pruhealth and Pruprotect joint venture] at attractive terms while providing full strategic optionality to re-enter the market in due course”.

A re-entry? Can I please remind Prudential that protection is not the ‘hokey cokey’?

Advisers do not like all of this in and out and shaking it all about. Advisers like consistency, they like to know providers they recommend will be there through thick and thin.

Prudential needs to take note.

What do you think? Would you recommend a Prudential protection policy to your clients?

emma.hughes@ft.com