Legal & General is calling on the industry to work together to simplify the language used around life insurance and critical illness cover.
This is to enable intermediaries to have better conversations with customers and comes after the provider's research found only 9 per cent of consumers associate the term 'protection' with life or critical illness cover.
Interestingly, the data also found that while 40 per cent thought the term referred to protection against physical harm and protective clothing, further 19 per cent did not associate ‘protection’ with anything specific at all.
Craig Brown, director at Legal & General Intermediary, argued that intermediaries play a crucial role in engaging and educating consumers about these insurance policies, but better support is needed from the industry.
He said: "Consumers are still largely unaware about what protection really means, and importantly what a huge impact it can have for those who need it.
"Critical illness cover is viewed by many as a complicated product, and in order to give consumers the clarity and comparability they need to choose the option best for them, we need to simplify language and support our intermediaries.
"As a sector, it is our responsibility to provide intermediaries with all the tools, products and information they need to empower them to help customers."
The research was commissioned ahead of Legal & General's eighth annual Business Quality Awards, an event aimed at recognising intermediaries who are making a difference in the protection market.
The survey of 2,000 participants UK-wide aimed to highlight consumer behaviour and attitudes towards buying protection.
Of those in the study, 54 per cent had no life insurance or critical illness policy in place.
However, of these individuals, 68 per cent would be willing to pay between £10 to £20 a month for appropriate cover.
Carl Shave, director for Suffolk-based Just Mortgage Brokers, said: "With such a wide use of language and terminology used in the life assurance sector it is perhaps no great surprise that the word 'protection' is interpreted in such a varied way by consumers.
"It can only be seen as a good thing that L&G are to try and bring the industry together to address this issue however, advisers play a pivotal role in ensuring their clients have an understanding of what their individual needs are, and in turn the cover any policy recommended provides."