In Focus: Protecting your client  

Cover take-up tailed off in 2021 but what does 2022 hold in store?

Cover take-up tailed off in 2021 but what does 2022 hold in store?

The increase in consumer activity around life and health cover in 2020 seemed to fall away in 2021, statistics have shown.

But according to a panel of protection specialists, could this indicate that insurance is still very much a 'sold' product, rather than a bought one, despite the pandemic re-opening conversations around cover?

And are there bright spots on the life and health cover horizon?

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Speaking to FTAdviser In Focus, Sue Helmont, marketing director for AIG Life, said there were positive signs, even if overall sales tailed off in 2021.

She said: "It is great to hear brokers like Kathryn and Tom say things are shaping up well in 2022. I had looked at data including Association of British Insurers data, which shows a general decline.

"When I looked at Google analytics and trends, search terms across 2021 were right down - further down even than in 2020. 

"It looks like if people were going to buy insurance, they would have done it in 2020. We can see that over the past two years, so many people's circumstances have changed."

That said, she pointed to other analysis of search terms which shows younger people are seemingly more interested in cover than they have been in previous years.

Indeed, earlier this year, FTAdviser reported that a funeral care director undertook a survey, which found a rising number of people aged between 18 to 24 were now considering life insurance as a direct result of the pandemic. 

According to fellow panellist Kathryn Knowles, co-founder of Cura Financial Services, people have not seen protection as something that is "key" but in her conversations with clients nowadays, she has seen a "definite" rise in interest, not just among clients who are "starting to see how important it is" but also among fellow advisers sending clients Cura's way.

These comments were echoed by Tom Conner, director for Drewberry, who said the first few weeks of 2022 had been "exceptionally" busy for them. "January is usually a busy time, as people tend to review their finances at the start of the year, but this year feels busier than usual. 

"It is not just new people looking at cover but other people wanting to review their cover. One positive might be that previously, people took out life cover and this was their sole purpose, but now they are looking at other insurance, such as income protection and they are far more open to a holistic conversation about their protection needs."

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