Exeter looks to broaden protection range

Exeter looks to broaden protection range

Insurance specialist Exeter is looking at broadening its range of affordable insurance products over the next year.

Steve Bryan, director of distribution and marketing for the insurer, said the entry of Exeter into the life market and potentially the critical illness market was not "to go head to head" with bigger life players but to "help reach customers with certain needs".

He said: "Our ethos is the member is at the heart of everything we do, so we want to offer a wider product range to our base.

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"That said, while we are eyeing up other products we want to make sure it's not the same sort of product that is already out there so we want to be different to the norm."

Mr Bryan said the Exeter was considering critical illness cover, perhaps with a view to launch at the end of 2018 or early 2019, but he said there was nothing concrete yet.

"We want to create credible, affordable products for our base," he said, adding that another factor in the creation of products would be to eliminate jargon and make product literature clearer. 

"We need to think of new words for products", he added. "For example, in November last year we launched an Impaired Life product but we want to think of a new word, something better than 'impaired life'."

Mr Bryan said clearing up some of the jargon, eliminating unnecessary elements in lengthy terms and conditions and cleaning up the whole process of buying and claiming are important parts of any product proposition for Exeter.

"To be fair", he said, "The whole insurance industry has the same aim and is working together for the same goal: to get more people protected. We need to close that protection gap.

"But how to do this? Government intervention? That might work but if this is forcing people into it, this isn't right. And it is not just the provider's responsibility to raise awareness of protection.

"To get the message out [that people should protect themselves and their finances] has been, and still is, hard to do. Financial advisers are doing a great job and are far more adept at selling protection, but even then you can't force individuals to go see an IFA in the first place."

Technological developments, better communication, more information around touch-points in people's lives - such as when they get a mortgage or start work - might be helpful ways to start the protection conversation, Mr Bryan said.

He added: "I have a genuine desire to be a force for good and help protect as many people as possible."

In April last year, the Exeter launched a responsive life insurance product, which catered to people with health conditions such as type two diabetes or a high body mass index, and in November 2017, the friendly society launched an impaired life product.