Clearing up protection myths

Clearing up protection myths

Clearing up some of the myths about protection is one of the first things an adviser must do when talking to clients about insurance.

It is easy to get carried away by headline-grabbing stories about insurers who did not pay out, but statistics show this is the exception, rather than the rule. 

Moreover, people stung or put off protection because of scandals such as payment protection insurance (PPI) may need to be reassured of the differences between PPI and income protection (IP).

But how can advisers clear up this fog of mistrust and confusion? 


Clients worried that they won't get a payout if they need to claim on their IP should be encouraged by the latest claims statistics from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), according to Stephen Crosbie, protection director at Aegon.

He comments: "It is well known that a key barrier to closing the protection gap is a lack of confidence in providers to actually pay claims. 

"Despite industry figures showing the highest number of payouts ever, there is still a perception among some consumers that few claims are paid."

In November last year, the ABI issued statistics showing that in 2015: 

  • £131m was paid every day to customers by UK insurers and long-term savings providers.
  • £9.9m of this was from protection policies such as critical illness cover, income protection and life insurance.
  • The UK insurance industry is the largest insurance market in Europe and the fourth largest in the world.

Yet as Mr Crosbie adds: "As an industry we need to work together to make better use of these positive figures to alleviate the consumer doubt that continues to linger."

Damian O'Connor, managing director of Roxburgh Financial Management, comments: "The majority of cases when income protection does not pay can be explained by non-disclosures, or claims within the deferment period where a client has returned to work before that has been completed.

"Advisers and clients can also be guided incorrectly by experiences in certain plans where the underwriting and claims process has been different, and where many plans have built-in exclusions or limitations."

The same is true for the group income protection (GIP) market.

Research from Group Risk Development (Grid) has revealed 14,600 people received payments in 2015, to the value of £347m a year.

This approximates to £950,000 a day, with the average claim amount standing at £21,884 a year.

"This should dispel the myth that GIP is only for the higher paid", says Grid spokesman Katharine Moxham.

In 2016, Drewberry launched a campaign to help bust the myth that insurers do not pay out.

The team ran a survey which found one in five people were put off buying protection because of a belief the insurer would not pay out.

Yet the ABI research revealed a payout rate in 2015 of 97.2 per cent across critical illness, income protection and life insurance. 

"Eighty-seven per cent of guesses fell short of the official ABI statistics", says Tom Conner, director at Drewberry. "Given how valuable this protection can be, it is a worrying trend."