Advisers foresee a boom in the protection market but are split over how to expand the market, a survey has shown.
Research from MetLife UK showed advisers believe sales of individual protection could grow by an average 18 per cent over the next two years, but there was no consensus on how sales might increase by such an amount.
Almost two out of five – 38 per cent - said there was a definite opportunity to help more customers over the next two years while 40 per cent say there could be.
However, the research identified adviser concerns about potential roadblocks to market expansion, with worries about affordability and the relevance of products to everyday lives seen as the biggest issues.
More than two out of three – 67 per cent - of advisers said clients would be more interested in individual protection policies if they were more affordable.
The same number said clients were put off buying protection products because they do not believe they would need them.
Some 56 per cent of advisers warned that clients do not believe the current range of products is relevant to their everyday lives.
Richard Horner, head of individual protection at MetLife UK said the individual protection market was seeing strong growth, and welcomed the optimism among advisers about opportunities to expand it further.
Mr Horner said: "There are… significant concerns advisers are hearing from their clients about the relevance of existing products available and issues about affordability and claim payments, which providers need to be address."
Advisers told MetLife UK that more than half – 51 per cent - of prospective customers were reluctant to buy protection policies because they were concerned about providers’ claims records.
Mr Horner said: "The reality is that there are affordable product options and the risks that they cover are part of everyday lives, while the industry’s record on claims is strong with providers committed to making the claims process straightforward and paying claims in a timely manner."
MetLife is the UK’s third largest group life provider by the number of schemes it insures and the sixth largest group income protection provider by in-force premium.
The survey was carried out in September 2018 by an independent search company, which interviewed 200 advisers in the UK.
This month (March) Legal & General called on the industry to work together to simplify the language used around life insurance and critical illness cover to enable intermediaries to have better conversations with customers.
The provider's research found only 9 per cent of consumers associated the term 'protection' with life or critical illness cover.