Protection  

Seven Families bids to make IP freely available

The Seven Families campaign has unveiled the third of the seven case studies that it hopes will collectively reverse dwindling sales in the income protection (IP) market.

The project is the brainchild of the Income Protection Task Force, a body of industry professionals – advisers and providers – which aims to promote awareness of IP by highlighting the benefits of the often neglected cover. It features seven examples of people who have been forced out of work due to ill health, but who were uninsured.

The scheme will provide each with the benefits of the typical insurance cover for which they would have qualified for one year, including access to doctors and a financial adviser.

Most involved are giving their time pro bono, or at a reduced rate. The entire project is being funded from the money raised by 20 insurers, including Aegon, Aviva and PruProtect, which have each paid £20,000 to be a part. There is also a Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/7F.

The cover provided is not specific to any particular insurer but will offer the generic features that one might expect of an IP policy.

Three of the seven families have been unveiled so far. The latest is a 42-year-old former company director from Bolton, who is paralysed from the neck down following a brain stem stroke.

The campaign has already enjoyed positive coverage in the finance pages of several national newspapers.

While advised clients are not the target of the campaign, one of the aims is a sustained conversation around the subject, to which Seven Families hopes IFAs will contribute. Networks including Personal Touch, Sesame and Tenet have already begun promoting the campaign to their advisers.

The decline of IP sales has been variously blamed on the MMR, banks moving away from advice and the gender directive. But an ageing workforce makes the product more relevant than ever.

According to Kevin Carr of Kevin Carr Consulting, one of the driving forces behind the campaign, the product suffers a reputational problem. Research last year showed the public estimates 38 per cent of insurance claims are paid out; the reality within IP is 91 per cent.

Professionals in the US and Australia are reportedly following the campaign, with a view to doing something similar in those markets.