IFAAug 3 2017

Aegon tells protection advisers how to beat direct sales

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Aegon tells protection advisers how to beat direct sales
BySimon Allin

A surge in direct-to-consumer protection sales means advisers should focus on older people and maintaining the right level of cover for current clients with developing health conditions, according to Aegon.

The life company's protection director, Steve Crosbie, has said advisers are most likely to demonstrate their value in so-called "non-standard" markets.

His comments come after reinsurer Swiss Re’s Term and Health Watch 2017 showed policy sales in the direct-to-consumer market grew by 22 per cent over the past year.

In contrast, the IFA market saw growth of just 3 per cent – although it remains by far the larger of the two channels.

Mr Crosbie said advisers could demonstrate their value by focusing on individuals with chronic conditions who could otherwise find themselves priced out of the market, along with older clients who may need more inventive protection solutions to keep the cost of cover affordable.

Integrating life, critical illness and income protection insurance to ensure it covered all of a consumer’s financial liabilities and joined up with other sources of cover was another area in which advisers could add value, he pointed out.

But Mr Crosbie said the biggest opportunity for advisers lay in ensuring their client’s level of cover was adequate, ensuring it stayed up-to-date by virtue of having a comprehensive understanding of a client’s circumstances.

Aegon’s protection director said consumer confidence was even growing when it came to arranging high-value policies directly, citing Swiss Re stats showing the average sum insured for direct sales had grown by almost 50 per cent since 2015.

He also called on advisers to make the most of technology that ensures policies can be arranged within the space of a single client meeting.

Emma Thompson, ‎life office relationship director at LifeSearch, commented: “For advisers to go and target specific groups of individuals, such as those with diabetes, products are available and can meet some of those needs. Shopping around and having an interest in what insurers can do is where they can show their worth.

“There is a market for people who don’t see themselves as having a complex situation, but that is not to say that someone who thinks they have a simple situation actually has one. There is an opportunity for advisers to help people regardless of their situation.”