Third of providers back Seven Families comeback

Third of providers back Seven Families comeback

Protection providers are considering a second phase of the Seven Families scheme, with around a third currently said to be on board with the initiative.

Launched in 2014, the project involved giving a year’s worth of financial support to seven families affected by long-term illness or disability.

The initiative is widely credited with helping to raise the industry’s profile in the eyes of a sceptical public deterred by negative claims stories and the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.

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Kevin Carr, whose PR firm Carr Consulting and Communications works with a wide range of clients from the protection industry, told FTAdviser: “Usually around a third of the market says yes, a third say no and a third are not sure and take months to decide, and that is where they are now.

“It is incredibly difficult to get competitors to join together. It was incredibly difficult the first time and is proving to be the second time – despite the success of the first project.

“You have a lot of companies competing over a shrinking market – but we are trying to grow the pie rather than individual shares of it.”

Created by the Income Protection Task Force, in partnership with Disability Rights UK, the Seven Families campaign received widespread coverage in newspapers and used social media platforms to spread the message about protection.

“What was bigger than we expected was the impact on the IFA community – some of the firms involved are still doing talks with IFAs,” Mr Carr continued.

“There was a lot of criticism at first. Some journalists were quite cynical, but that went away once people realised it was not exploitative.

“There is still a long way to go, though. The number of positive stories in the consumer press outweigh the bad by about 20 to one, but it is the bad ones that stick in the throat.”

Lea Karasavvas, managing director of London-based Prolific Mortgage Finance, said: “I think that anything that raises the awareness of protection is a worthwhile cause and a second phase of such an innovative idea is something that should be encouraged. 

“With the correct media coverage and help from providers, this initiative can place protection at the forefront of our minds. Insurance and protection continues to be something that is reactive rather than proactive at which point it is too late.

“It should form part of the recommendation process at the outset. Far too often an emphasis is placed on securing the debt, and not protecting it. 

“It baffles me still that people would place pet insurance or phone insurance higher up the priority list than protection of their own lives or income and anything that helps to reinforce the importance of protection should be welcomed.”

Lifesearch director Emma Thomson said: “For me the Seven Families project has been extremely positive for the industry. It has proved a lot of people wrong and has got companies working together for the common good.