British Friendly is working on more ways to make income protection advice easier for advisers this year.
Iain Clark, distribution and marketing director at British Friendly, said the provider was building on its work in 2016 to grow the appeal of income protection among intermediaries and make it easier to advise on.
He said: “We have more exciting plans for 2017 which we believe will help to grow the appeal of income protection in the intermediary market and help advisers to retain customers."
As part of its plans for 2017, it has become the first UK insurer to release paid claims data for the 2016 calendar year, which Mr Clark said was important in helping to improve transparency and provide figures that would help bust some protection myths that plans do not pay out.
In 2016 British Friendly paid 96.13 per cent of Income Protection claims, with over half of all claims (52 per cent) authorised in one day or less.
The top three reasons for claiming in 2016 were unchanged from 2015:
- Orthopaedics (musculoskeletal conditions) - 39 per cent of paid claims
- Viral illness /respiratory - 22 per cent of paid claims.
- Psychiatric conditions - 13 per cent of paid claims.
- The age bracket with the most claims was between 50-59 years for both men and women.
The precise breakdown of paid/declined figures for 2016 are:
- 96.13 per cent paid
- 3.87 per cent declined (main reasons are non-disclosure 1.93 per cent, not meeting the definition 1.71 per cent).
Mr Clark added: "We were highly innovative in 2016 to make the job of advising on income protection as easy as possible for advisers.
"We released a decade of claims paid statistics in January 2016, rebranded to a fresh and modern image, introduced death benefit and care assistance benefit for both new and existing members and added more deferred periods to our short-term IP product.
“Alongside these changes, we improved our online systems to help advisers receive more immediate acceptances for their clients who apply for income protection online."
Advisers can expect to see more of these improvements over the course of 2017.
Tom Conner, director at Drewberry, said: “British Friendly is making a habit of becoming the first UK insurer every year to publish their annual paid claims data.
"Claims statistics are important because they help advisers to demonstrate to customers that the policies they buy pay out when needed.
"Sometimes, those inside the so-called protection bubble forget just how distrustful the public can be about insurance.
"So insurers and friendly societies who publish decent, prompt claims data help advisers to highlight the true value of income protection.”
This comes as FTAdviser published its Guide to Income Protection advice, which qualifies for one hour of structured CPD and provides hints and tips to help advisers bust myths that prevail around protection payouts.