A former managing director of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident has urged advisers to talk about positive outcomes when talking about protection products, to try to dissipate negative connotations about these products.
Speaking at the Financial Services Expo in Manchester, Roger Edwards of Roger Edwards Marketing and former managing director of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident, suggested that consumers were not securing the right levels of protection because there was too little focus from the market on positive outcomes for those that did.
“Twenty years ago, people didn’t take out protection products for three reasons. They said, ‘I don’t need it; it’s too expensive; and they [the insurers] won’t pay out’ - twenty years on they are giving the same reasons for why they won’t buy and we need to get over this.”
In order to change this, he urged advisers to use technology to get consumers talking about protection, using stories of where other clients had taken out products, claimed, been paid, and ultimately had their financial futures’ secured.
“Don’t talk about the product, talk about the outcome, and use social media to do this. Rescuing someone’s entire financial future is a great story to tell and I believe [advisers’] websites can become the hub to host these positive stories; nowadays it’s so much easier to do this via podcasts, videos and articles,” commented Mr Edwards.
John Ritchie, chief executive at group risk insurer of Ellipse, agreed with Mr Edwards’ points, arguing that the Seven Families project has shown that real stories can change everything.
“We haven’t really done anything about promoting protection products in a generation and to some extent I think that’s down to the current leadership. We need to get the balance right between the finance guys and those who can communicate the value of this type of cover.”
Tom Conner, director at Drewberry, told FTAdviser that in order to repair the reputation of the industry, providers and advisers need to engage in conversation.
“There is a huge information bias online about the quality of insurance products because people are far more likely to write a negative comment or review if they’ve had a declined claim than if they’ve been happy with the service.
“Are insurers asking clients to write a review after an accepted claim? On average the research shows that people look at over 10 different sources of information before buying so it’s vital they come across our clients praising us, because they’re not just going to take our word for it.”
Andrew Walker, commercial director at benefit provider Epoq, added that the firm has been gauging the opinions of protection advisers on a number of topics recently.
“There is a lot of appetite among advisers for insurers to help them to communicate with clients and remind them of the importance and USPs of the products; it helps retention and social media can play a part in that communications push.”