When it comes to the role of protection policies within intergenerational planning, the focus is on planning for the worst-case scenario and protecting the assets the client has built by having a suitable life insurance or critical illness policy in place.
But there’s another side of protection which is underplayed and can give clients both peace of mind and real life tangible and useful benefits.
Of course, I’m talking about ‘value added services’, or the easier-to-understand ‘living benefits’. In other words, benefits you can access without having to make a claim on your policy.
While these additional services have been available for quite some time, Covid 19 and the subsequent pressure on the National Health Service has shown not just the value that these services can bring to clients, but also the fact that individuals have become accustomed to seeking alternative routes to get the help they need, including the use of self-guided or remote services.
These living benefits are provided usually at no additional cost to the policyholders and can be worth hundreds of pounds in their own right. There’s an opportunity for advisers to help clients understand these more and encourage the use of them.
When it comes to intergenerational planning, it’s worth remembering that these services can be used by family members and often until the client’s children until they are in their early 20s.
The benefits themselves can act as great starters for the protection conversation, as they can often be used from day one of a policy.
Typical services include:
- Virtual GP services: The ability to get a video or phone appointment 24/7 is something that is vital to many people. Consultation details can be sent onto your local GP surgery.
- Second medical opinion: The reassurance of someone else taking a look at a diagnosis, or being referred to an expert can give clients huge peace of mind as they look to recover.
- Mental Health: At Scottish Widows we’ve seen mental health grow to be our biggest disclosure, 20% of applications have a mental health disclosure. It’s great that taboos about seeking help for mental health have broken down. Mental health support via living benefits could include face to face or telephone counselling, or self-help guidance.
- Wellbeing: This can include a range of items from nutritional advice, remote or physical physiotherapy sessions and access or discounts to fitness services.
These benefits can contribute massively to helping clients stay physically and mentally healthy but also help with recovery or support at claim stage to reduce some of the impact of sickness or injury.
When the clients’ children are no longer covered due to their age, that’s a great opportunity to engage them about their own policies and associated living benefits.
Providing intergenerational peace of mind will help deepen relationships with your clients.
It’s quite likely that these living benefits are more of an appeal to the younger generations, helping them to understand protection and giving peace of mind to your clients that their children have their own protection in place.
Providers need to help advisers understand the breadth and the real-life value of these benefits, so they in turn can position protection as a genuinely complete wellbeing and care package.
Chris Dunne is proposition manager for Scottish Widows