Protection referrals have risen significantly amid the coronavirus pandemic, advisers have claimed.
David Mead, founder of Future Proof and joint head of protection at St. James’s Place Protection Planning, said there was a significant increase in the amount of referrals received for protection advice leading up to, and at the beginning of, the initial lockdown.
Mr Mead said: “If there are any positives to be taken from the Covid-19 pandemic, it would have to be that many more advisers, from all corners of the financial services industry, realise what an important role protection plays in the advice process.”
Likewise Alan Knowles, managing director at Cura, said his firm had seen an upturn in the number of enquiries from protection, mortgage and wealth advisers on all protection policies, but noticeably many more on life insurance.
Mr Knowles said: “In the past we saw more referrals for clients with serious health conditions and comorbidities, but now we are seeing an increasing number of referrals for clients with single conditions such as diabetes, or a previous heart attack.
“The main reason for this is that many brokers are finding it very difficult at the moment to find providers willing to take clients with such conditions.”
In September some protection advisers reported difficulties in finding cover for clients due to underwriting changes.
At the time, Mr Knowles said “almost all” insurers had applied restrictions in underwriting due to the coronavirus, with some showing “greater concern” over insuring clients with diabetes or heart conditions.
Tom Baigrie, founder and CEO of LifeSearch, also said the life insurance broker had seen an increase in signposted referrals, including from its price comparison site partners, as well as financial planner and wealth management introducers, with a peak in March and April.
Firms can point, or ‘signpost’ a customer to assistance where they cannot find cover for them.
Cura’s Mr Knowles said: “I do think that Covid has helped raise awareness of signposting, but I suspect a big part of this is that more cases are being postponed or declined than they were pre-Covid so it's no longer just the occasional client people cannot cover.”
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