A record number of protection business went through in October, driven by a surge in multi-benefit products, according to Iress.
Data from the fintech firm’s quote and transaction portal The Exchange showed there were 55,000 protection applications during the month - an increase of more than 17 per cent year-on-year.
Multi-benefit products saw the sharpest increase, with a 64 per cent leap in new business applications.
The second-biggest gain came in income protection business, which grew by 44 per cent from October 2016 to October 2017.
Between January and October, more than half a million (506,000) protection new business applications were recorded – a 10 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Dave Miller, Iress executive general manager (commercial), described the trend as “hugely encouraging” and suggested it was driven by improvements in technology, in claims and underwriting experience.
He said: "We've also seen some welcome innovative new entrants into the protection market this year, focusing on people with high body mass index (BMI) and diabetes, which is opening up an historically underserved section of the population.
"Anecdotally, I'm hearing a renewed focus on mortgage protection sales with encouraging successes reported from our protection partners, which, with rising house prices and the prospect of further interest rate rises, must be viewed as a positive trend.
"Lastly, I'm sure that breakthrough initiatives like the fantastic Seven Families campaign, which has been well represented in the personal finance pages of the national press, has also contributed to the sharp increase in income protection specifically and has raised the need for protection more generally.
"All in all, it has been a great year for protection and I look forward to this positive trend continuing as we go into 2018."
Emma Thomson, life office relations director at Lifesearch, said: "I think developments within Iress may have generated more business through that method of applying.
"With the development of their menu plan, and including the BMI calculator in the portal, there is a real reason for [advisers] to use Iress.
"Having said that, there have been quite a few reports about an increase in business. Insurers have been doing a lot to work with mortgage advisers. I know the networks have had a real focus on protection.
"And more products like Exeter’s Managed Life and Royal London’s diabetes cover apply to people who might not have been able to get cover in the past.
"It is very, very positive news."