Protection 

What advisers rate about protection provider's service

What advisers rate about protection provider's service

Advisers have ranked underwriting services and new business processing as the most important factors they consider when looking for protection providers.

The results were announced by Defaqto, which published a review of the service provided by protection providers as rated by financial advisers.

Defaqto's service satisfaction survey asked advisers to rate protection providers in relation to ten categories, and then the results were plotted to identify any gaps in satisfaction and experience.

Underwriting services was ranked number one in importance, which was followed by new business processing and then claims handling plus administration.

Experts believe the ranked order of importance continued to show a focus on the acquisition of new business and suggested advisers were more comfortable with working online and less keen on face-to-face interactions with insurers.

David Cartwright, head of insight and consulting for wealth and protection at Defaqto, said: "A cross-match of ranked importance and ranked satisfaction revealed that for the industry as a whole, expectations are being met or exceeded for half of service categories.

"However, of the top three for importance, only new business processing achieved sufficient satisfaction scores to meet expectations; underwriting services and claims handling and administration fell short.

"All of the service categories are important and providers should consider all elements of their service and allocate resource where appropriate.

"With many providers offering similar products, service is a key deciding factor for advisers when it comes to product selection."

Defaqto asked financial advisers about their views on the service they receive from 25 individual protection providers covering life, critical illness cover, income protection insurance, family income benefit and whole of life assurance.

Product providers were then rated gold, silver or bronze based on their overall rating score.

They are available to view and use within Defaqto Engage, an investment planning software solution.

The results found that in terms of the individual protection products being used by financial advisers, the sector continues to be dominated by level term assurance, critical illness with life cover and decreasing term assurance.

However, the support for most products decreased by, on average, three percentage points with the exception of income protection insurance, which gained ground.

Whole of life assurance and standalone critical illness cover suffered the greatest drop in support.

Alan Lakey, director at protection advice specialist CI Expert, said: "I believe that the most important aspect will differ according to the product.

"Our subscribers focus on the quality of the critical illness plan allied to factors such as added benefits, underwriting, processing and administration and value in terms of quality versus price.

"CI Expert has no real rivals due to the unprecedented detail and ability to fully evaluate the often subtle differences between competing plans - new and historic - that we provide."

aamina.zafar@ft.com