There is a lot to know about insurance, and it is important for advisers to explore the market more widely.
The most recent benefit cuts, namely to housing benefit for those under 22, are a clear reminder of the shift taking place in responsibility for our financial futures from the government and employers, back onto the individual.
These cuts follow the benefit cap introduced last December and from April of this year.
Applicants for Employment and Support Allowance who are assessed as unfit for work but capable of work-related activity will receive a lower level of benefit, with the value falling from £5,312 to £3,801 per year.
Set against this backdrop, it seems that the need for people to protect themselves and their families has rarely been greater.
And while there are a raft of products available to help people manage the risks of them or family members becoming seriously ill or becoming too sick to work, take up of these products remains low.
There is a big protection gap in the UK and advisers can help to bridge it.
Critical illness cover
Critical illness cover (CIC) tends to be taken out over a set term and pays out a lump sum if the policy holder becomes ill with a condition covered by the policy.
These usually include the most common reasons for claims such as cancers, stroke, heart attack and multiple sclerosis.
The customer chooses how long cover is in place as well as the amount payable should they become ill.
This is usually determined by a customer’s financial liabilities, for example, a customer may take out a policy to cover a mortgage of £150,000 over 15 years so that should they become ill during that time, they can focus on recovery and not having to worry about making ends meet.
As well as the obvious financial benefits of the product, most providers usually cover children up to 18 years of age free of charge; many offer additional payments on less serious or advanced diagnoses of qualifying illnesses.
Other benefits will often include comprehensive support services, many of them taking a wellbeing approach with preventative support available to customers before they become ill.
For example, some providers may offer access to professional counselling as well as help and advice on everything from managing debt through to access to childcare.
Income protection (IP) insurance offers replacement income should the policy holder become unable to work because of illness, injury or disability.
And with income protection, the extra support offered through the product is often unsung.
Many policies offer access to rehabilitation support that can often mean access to treatments and therapies not readily available on the NHS and this is key for certain long term conditions such as stress where early intervention is crucial for recovery.
Questions appear on the last page of this article.