Having initially worked in his shed during the warmer months, as the colder weather spreads Mr Higgs has moved back into his house, which is now his place of work for the foreseeable future.
With FTRC deciding to close its London office permanently and have all staff working remotely – albeit still meeting up once a week – it has done nothing to slow down the work he does as head of research at FTRC-owned Protection Guru, launched 18 months ago.
“It is not just ‘do you offer this: yes or no’; we really drill into the detail
Six years ago FTRC launched protection cover comparison tool Quality Analyser to provide information to advisers about the protection market.
But the idea for Protection Guru – a website focused on product analysis, policy changes and upgrades – came about following feedback from advisers.
Mr Higgs says: “[A lot of advisers said to us]: ‘The system is great in helping us to compare products based on features we deem important to our clients. However, you cover a lot of features. And while we generally have an understanding of what those features do, we don’t really know enough detail behind it’.
“So we decided to start [creating] insights, where once a week we would look at a particular feature of a protection product and go into the detail of how that feature could benefit clients, how the features actually work in practice and the differences between insurers.”
Over time FTRC built up a catalogue of information, which it regularly sent out to its Quality Analyser subscribers.
“So we thought, why don’t we put that into a website where people can easily find them and go through them? And that was the origin of Protection Guru.”
The aim of the site is to act as a technical service to help educate advisers on the finer points of protection plans, and help advisers be more confident when they are talking to clients in detail about protection products.
As for the providers, Mr Higgs says it has strengthened the company’s relationship with insurers, because it is helping to highlight areas where they are strong.
“They have always given us the information since we started doing the Quality Analyser system,” he says.
“And the success we have had with Protection Guru has focused them more on what we are doing, because we have been far more public in saying what they do and what they do not do.