A case of DIY
Some of those diligent and proactive advisers who want to ensure full and appropriate client advice, have been building their own internal spreadsheets, or matrices, in order to keep up with which insurer is offering which added value service, when it applies, who for and whether there are any limitations.
This represented one of the findings from a recent roundtable we hosted in conjunction with Medical Solutions, a provider of GP services to the insurance industry.
The advisers in attendance were well-known figures in the industry and regular commentators in the trade press, therefore arguably more “in the know” than most.
But what of the other 5,000+ other intermediary firms in the UK.
Is it reasonable to assume that many will simply find added value benefits all too complicated and shy away from even discussing this area?
That was certainly my [Suzanne’s] experience when taking out IP last year.
If the protection experts are building their own in-house solutions, what about other advisers who do not follow the protection market closely?
Some comparison services do already include these benefits.
Both Defaqto and FTRC’s Quality Analyser allow advisers to compare which insurers offer which services and on what basis.
Adam Higgs from FTRC says: “Added value benefits have become a staple of protection plans but it can be difficult to compare what insurers offer.
“Some insurers may only offer certain benefits at point of claim, some may offer certain benefits to wider family members and in some cases, this may differ depending on the type of product taken out.
“Keeping up to date with this can be very time consuming and as such a system that can keep track of this information and help advisers compare the different offerings can provide great support.”
What’s in a name
The name probably doesn’t help matters: ‘added value benefits’ is incredibly vague.
If you did not work in the world of insurance, what would those three words mean to you?
Following a comprehensive spot poll (think fellow parents at the school gate) where we asked: “If you were buying life insurance and were told it came with added value benefits what would you think that meant?”, we received varying responses from “an early pay out if you had terminal cancer” and “a lump sum before dying” to “a Fitbit or a Starbucks coffee” (well done Vitality. Your message is getting through, even to those who are not policyholders).
Perhaps if the benefits were grouped – for example, primary care services, everyday wellbeing services, mental health etc – it might be easier for everyone to understand.
In a recent industry wide poll by Protection Review, over a dozen options were listed including ‘added value services’ but the two clear leaders were: ‘Care and support services’ on 29 per cent and ‘Support services’ on 28 per cent.
Questions appear on the last page of this article.