Critical Illness  

Clients showing ‘increased willingness’ to talk about protection

Clients showing ‘increased willingness’ to talk about protection

Advisers are seeing a change in consumer attitude towards protection as a result of the coronavirus, according to a survey by Guardian.

Research by the provider found most advisers surveyed said they had experienced a change in client behaviour, as three-quarters reported a greater willingness by clients to talk about protection.

The research also found the coronavirus had prompted an increase in clients actively seeking protection advice.

Four in 10 advisers said they had seen an increase in protection enquiries from existing clients, while 38 per cent had seen an increase from new clients.

Additionally, two-thirds (67 per cent) of advisers said they believed protection sales would grow within their business, as their firms sought to counter lost income.

Over half (56 per cent) of advisers said they expected a drop in their overall revenue as a result of the coronavirus, and two-thirds (66 per cent) said they would be looking for new ways to earn income.

The provider surveyed 410 advisers between April 14 and June 28.

Katya MacLean, chief executive of Guardian, said it was not surprising advisers were reporting an increased willingness by clients “to talk about the ‘what if’s’”.

Ms MacLean added: “Those advisers who didn’t always talk to their clients about protection say they’re now discussing it more frequently, and many are also experiencing a rise in proactive protection enquiries. 

“We know that before the pandemic, some advisers found it hard to talk to their clients about their own mortality and morbidity. But, for the short term at least, we’re seeing a change in consumer appetite to have this tough, but necessary, conversation.

“This change, in these unprecedented circumstances, gives advisers an opportunity to show clients the benefit of their advice. Which, in turn, should help more people get the cover they need.”

Roy McLoughlin, associate director at Cavendish Ware, said: “The virus has pushed protection insurance higher up the agenda for many clients. I am seeing this personally within my own business and am hearing the same during discussions at the Protection Distributors' Group. It seems that in this challenging situation, people are thinking more about their own mortality”.

Speaking to FTAdviser last month, Toni Smith, chief operating officer at Primis Mortgage Network said that while protection can be a “difficult sell for advisers”, she could not “remember a time” during her 32 years in the industry when customers asked brokers to sell them income protection and critical illness cover.

chloe.cheung@ft.com