ProtectionAug 2 2017

Providers’ failure to agree stalls Seven Families reboot 

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Providers’ failure to agree stalls Seven Families reboot 
ByLaura Miller

Plans for a new industry-led campaign promoting the benefits of protection have become mired in disagreements between providers over what form it should take and who should pay for it.

The Income Protection Taskforce is keen to push ahead with an extension of the well-received Seven Families programme.

The initiative, which ended last year, sought to highlight the financial impact of long-term illness or disability by providing a year’s tax-free income to seven people who lost their income because they could no longer work.

Seven Families was the brain child of outgoing chairman of the IPTF, Peter Le Beau. 

But it is paid for by life companies, some of which are understood to be balking at stumping up another round of cash, as well as struggling to agree how to work collaboratively with rivals.

Kevin Carr, who runs his own public relations firm, is chief executive of Protection Review, and was recently announced joint successor to Le Beau at the IPTF, said he is facing resistance from providers to ideas for the new campaign.

The plan was for a televised Question Time-style debate around income protection and household resilience to the breadwinner no longer being able to work.

It would feature financial advisers, representatives from providers, journalists and people from the original Seven Families campaign.

The TV debate would act as a bridge between the first Seven Families campaign and any successor.

But Mr Carr said: “It had a mixed response from insurers – some were keen to fund it, while some others weren’t and overall there wasn’t enough consensus, or at least not yet. 

“We’re open to ideas about Seven Families 2 and talks are ongoing with the industry. 

“I think it needs to be fresh and a little different to the first one. We are planning an IPTF strategy day later in the year to discuss further ideas.”

Financial Adviser contacted providers involved in the first Seven Families, and most voiced assurances they backed its revival in some form but this was caveated by the references to the supposed difficulty of delivering it.

Canada Life ruled itself out of any future programme. Zurich and LV came out the strongest for a second round.

“We wholeheartedly support the campaign continuing and are keen to remain involved as a sponsor,” Justin Harper, head of policy for protection at LV, said.

“We recognise that as an industry we must continue to adopt new and innovative ways to engage more meaningfully with both advisers and consumers. 

“If we are to improve the financial resilience of working households across the UK we must form stronger alliances and work together towards this goal.”