Guide to accident, sickness and unemployment insurance

  • To learn what ASU is and for whom it might be suitable.
  • To be able to list the pros and cons of ASU compared with income protection.
  • To be able to explain ways to protect clients in the event of forced redundancy.
Guide to accident, sickness and unemployment insurance


Insuring your clients against business, home, personal and health risks is a vital part of a financial planner’s role.

However, while most advisers will be advocates of the virtues of having insurance in place, very few people actively seek advice on insurance policies, focusing instead on how to manage a lump-sum inheritance, or seeking help on pension planning.

Younger clients may not see the value of income protection or critical illness cover, perhaps thinking that becoming ill or having a stroke is something that only happens to older people, not people in their 20s and 30s. 

Other people may think the National Health Service will always be there for them in the future should they get ill, and that the welfare state will be able to support them should the worst happen.

Yet more individuals may labour under the impression their household savings will be enough should the main breadwinner become ill or unable to work. 

However, the reality is sickness, accidents and redundancy hit people of all ages and walks of life, and can have serious and long-lasting financial implications. 

One of the ‘starter’ insurance products that people could consider is Accident, Sickness and Unemployment insurance. This is a short-term protection policy that covers these events, and typically lasts for 12 months. 

It is never intended to be a replacement for long-term cover, such as income protection or critical illness cover, but it can be used as a ‘gateway insurance’ to get people thinking about the value of protecting themselves should the worst happen. 

This guide will cover what ASU is and how it works, and help advisers to identify for whom such a policy might be most suitable. It will also explore how it stacks up against other insurances, and poses the question of how advisers can help clients protect themselves if they think a no-deal or poor-deal Brexit might result in a period of forced redundancy.

This guide qualifies for an indicative 60 minutes’ worth of CPD. 

Contributors of information to this guide: Rob Harvey, adviser at Drewberry; Peter Hamilton, head of market management for Zurich UK Life and Nick Homer, head of market management, corporate risk, for Zurich UK; Jason Berry, director of sales for Uinsure; Alan Lakey, founder of CI Expert; Ben Heffer, insight consultant, life and protection, for Defaqto; Kesh Thukaram, one of the founding directors at Best Insurance; Steve Devine, chairman of the Protect Association; Jennifer Gilchrist, proposition lead at Royal London; Dean Mason, director of Masons Financial Planning; Jack Wild, adviser and company director at Jack Wild Consulting; Scottish Widows. 

Simoney Kyriakou is deputy editor of Financial Adviser and is now on maternity leave

In this guide


Please answer the six multiple choice questions below in order to bank your CPD. Multiple attempts are available until all questions are correctly answered.

  1. According to Mr Heffer, what can ASU also be called?

  2. According to Mr Mason, what can ASU provide to some clients?

  3. What is key to people getting the right cover at the right time, according to Ms Gilchrist?

  4. Mr Devine describes unemployment cover to what?

  5. Mr Harvey says ASU does what compared with income protection?

  6. What should be the real priority, according to Mr Lakey?

Nearly There…

You have successfully answered all the questions correctly, well done!

You should now know…

  • To learn what ASU is and for whom it might be suitable.
  • To be able to list the pros and cons of ASU compared with income protection.
  • To be able to explain ways to protect clients in the event of forced redundancy.

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