Mystery Shopper: Income protection in Bath

Mystery Shopper: Income protection in Bath

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

This week, the mystery shopper visits Bath. The shopper is looking for some sort of income protection (IP) cover. She is a single mum and an IT professional with a mortgage. Six months ago she was diagnosed with depression and bipolar and wants to safeguard herself against any period when she might need to stop working for medical reasons.

Adviser: Insight Financial Advice (independent)

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Address: 40 Long Barnaby, Midsomer Norton, Somerset BA3 2TZ

Speed of response: 10.13am. One ring and put through to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Diploma in Financial Planning and CeMap. 5/5

Payment method: With protection policies providers typically pay a commission. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said the difference between mortgage protection and IP is that the former will just cover the mortgage while the latter will replace the income lost. However, he said that it was unlikely lenders would cover a pre-existing condition and if they did the premium would be much higher. Alternatively, she could look at critical illness cover which pays a lump sum. 5/5

Knowledge: Adviser sounded knowledgeable and was able to give the shopper a clear idea of her options. He urged her to find out about the level and duration of sick pay from her employer. Armed with this information the adviser said he would be better placed to find an appropriate provider to suit her needs. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper’s choice. The adviser offered the shopper plenty of detail about the various product options, was confident about what he could do for her and lifted her spirits regarding her financial wellbeing.



Adviser: Combined Financial Strategy (independent)

Address: 38 Gay Street, Bath, Avon BA1 2NT

Speed of response: 10.29am. One ring and transferred to an adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFS. 5/5

Payment method: Fee or commission depending on the policy. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said IP policies will not pay out because she has already been diagnosed with depression, so they will exclude any pre-existing conditions. He advised her to speak to her mortgage broker to see if they could find her relevant cover as they tend to deal with more niche providers. He also asked her to check her sick pay benefits with her employer. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded knowledgeable about her options, but she felt he did not make a big enough effort to consider which providers, if any, might suit her needs. 3/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser answered quite a few questions the shopper had, but she would have liked it if he had gone a little further in trying to identify providers who might offer her suitable cover.



Adviser: Fidelius (formerly Moneywise IFA)