The protection market is steadily growing.
The reasons why are manifold but primarily seem due to better technology, the popularity of multi-benefit policies and the fact that mortgage brokers seem to have found their protection selling mojo.
That said, the growth is relatively small compared to the number of people in the UK who need appropriate cover.
And that is not just a problem for the insurance industry. It’s a problem for society at large.
Obviously, the industry has to turn a buck. But there is a huge duty of care aspect to what it does too.
Protection has a role in helping people ensure financial resilience, peace of mind, improved physical and psychological wellbeing.
In doing so, it also helps reduce the state burden and provides supplemental services where state support does not exist.
These are all things to which everyone should have access, whatever their age, gender, mental or physical health and, of course, budget.
Improved collaboration between the individual and group markets can help in all of these aspects.
And despite a number of strides ahead – transparency around claims payouts, the occasional emotive “insurer payout changed our lives” good news story and the general shift into service provider as well as claim payer territory – there is much more to be done.
For all the talk about mental health and added value support services, for example, we still face the problem of many individuals – particularly anyone who has ever experienced anxiety, stress or depression – left feeling like some kind of uninsurable underclass.
Plus, despite all of the great added value services now available there seems a distinct lack of proactivity with regards to encouraging usage.
This year’s Protection Review conference, which took place in London in July, saw an audience of over 250 advisers, insurers, reinsurers, added value service providers and more, focusing on how they can grow protection through much more effective collaboration.
The event focused on a range of areas including mental health, underwriting, advertising and improving the relationship between the group and individual sectors. Here we summarise the top 5 take-aways for advisers.
1.Advisers would welcome claims and underwriting training from insurers and specialist service providers, specifically around mental health.
Mental health is a very personal and sensitive subject and although there is a societal shift in the right direction when it comes to removing the stigma, that safe haven for all still seems a world away.
It perhaps comes as no surprise then that a recent survey of 2,000 members of the public by Protection Review found that over a third (34 per cent) would feel uncomfortable discussing their mental health with their financial adviser or insurer.
Questions appear on the last page of this article.