Aviva looks to tackle 'rental protection gap'

Aviva looks to tackle 'rental protection gap'

Aviva has launched a campaign encouraging advisers to discuss protection with clients living in rented accommodation.

The campaign targets what Aviva said is a growing "rental protection gap" and offers advisers tools and resources to encourage renters to consider protection in the same way they would with a mortgage client.

In 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority found renters were three times less likely than mortgage borrowers to have arranged life protection insurance.

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Of the 14.8m UK adults living in rented accommodation, 81 per cent had no form of protection insurance, it found.

Paul Dalgliesh, head of protection propositions at Aviva, said advisers were in a strong position to help address the growing rental protection gap.

He said: "The UK has seen a significant rise in the number of people renting – from young single urban professionals who may not be able to afford to buy, couples and families, through to older singles who may be divorced and ex-homeowners who are starting over again.

"Often, renters never address the risks they would face if they couldn’t meet their rent."

Mr Dalgliesh said the aim of Aviva’s new protection campaign was to help advisers initiate relevant conversations with potential protection clients.

In its clarification of mortgage protection income under the new system for state benefit assessments earlier this year, the Department for Work & Pensions omitted confirmation of the position of renters.

Roy McLoughlin, associate director at Cavendish Ware, said generation rent was a huge market the protection industry could not ignore and Aviva’s campaign was a move in the right direction.

He said: "People who rent still get ill and experience bad events - if we ignore this demographic just because they are not traditional homeowners, it would be disingenuous.

"Part of the movement needs to be an awareness message that if renters are off work ill, they are still required to pay rent - with welfare reform and universal credit, lots of renters wrongly believe they will be covered by the state in the event of illness.

"But the message is very clear - you cannot rely on the state and need to become self sufficient or at the very least work out what protection you are entitled to from your employer or put cover in place to protect yourself in the event of illness."

Mr McLoughlin said a large number of people were renting through estate agencies so it would be wise for more agency groups to look into protection - either offering it themselves or linking with advice firms.

He said: "I do not think there is a risk of overselling protection to renters - what we have learnt is payment protection insurance was a poor product, but we all know now that if sold correctly protection will be relevant to the vast majority of renters.