Concerns critical illness tool risks quality for speed

Concerns critical illness tool risks quality for speed

CIExpert will roll-out its rapid analysis critical illness cover tool with L&C Mortgages, but concerns have been raised about sacrificing quality for speed.

Alan Lakey, director of CIExpert, said following a successful trial of the system using their protection advisers, L&C Mortgages decided to make it available to all of its advisers.

The tool aims to allow intermediaries to do a rapid analysis for each client to identify the best CI plan for them, using a statistics-based software application.

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Mr Lakey said the application carries out a detailed analysis of wording and condition differences between both old and new plans to allow the intermediaries to rapidly assess the protection options.

It will help close the protection gap between people who need and lack cover, he said.

But Ruth Whitehead, IFA at London-based Ruth Whitehead Associates, said an application that would claim to do this was “rubbish.”

She said: “This is a particular device and may be of assistance and may save some time but the unknown for CI cover is the medical. The older you are the harder it is to get it. It must be utterly bespoke.”

London & Country backed the product, however.

Michael Aldridge, innovation director for the firm, said: “We have been strong advocates of the use of CIExpert since we first started using it.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of advice that we provide and also seeking methods of conveying information to our clients in a way that is easy for them to comprehend.

“We believe that CIExpert is an important investment providing access to vital data, which can only enhance the ability of our teams to provide our clients the best insight available to select the appropriate CI protection. The simplicity and speed of the system cuts through the complexity and enables our advisers to focus their time on their client’s individual needs.”

Alan Lakey, director of CIExpert, said: “For London & Country Mortgages to cement its relationship with CIExpert, allowing for greater integration into its sales process, is tremendous recognition of the part that we play in assisting advisers in closing the protection gap.

“Like it or not the complexity of CI plans can be a barrier for client adoption and increasingly we are seeing our service being utilised to assist in engaging clients in the true value of critical illness insurance.”

But Ms Whitehead advocated entirely individual services for critical illness clients.

She said: “We have only done bespoke. The final assessment is that made by the insurance company via a medical inspection, so it is almost impossible to second guess the outcome.

“I do think there isn’t a substitute for a good protection broker because underwriting is so complex unless you are in your early 20s. That’s why there’s a low take-up of critical illness cover, because of the medical. People don’t want to have a medical.”