Protection to evolve from ‘static product’ to service

Protection to evolve from ‘static product’ to service
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The future of protection is one where cover is a service rather than just a product, industry figures have suggested.

While the pandemic has highlighted the role of added-value services, Debbie Kennedy, protection director at LV, said protection needed to offer support from the outset of cover.

She said: “We sense a real shift in perception and take up of added-value services, such as remote GP services, helplines and on-demand support.”

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In June the provider reported a 35 per cent uplift in downloads of the LV Doctor Services app and a 90 per cent increase in remote GP appointments over the Covid period.

Ms Kennedy added: “Protection is far more than the financial insurance element. It needs to offer everyday practical and emotional support too from day one, and not just at claim.

“The future is definitely one where protection is a service, not just a static ‘product’ or one-off advice.”

Likewise Paul Yates, product strategy director at iPipeline, said added-value services such as virtual GPs, counselling and physiotherapy, offered tangible benefits for consumers beyond a claim.

He said: “Added-value services really proved their worth when Covid-19 hit our shores in March, with remote services like virtual GPs allowing people to access healthcare and take the burden off the NHS.”

Research from AIG Life indicates that consumers are embracing remote services, as an August survey found 81 per cent of people were happy to have phone consultations with their GP, while 72 per cent would accept video calls.

During the pandemic some providers also developed the added-value services available to policyholders.

For example, in September, Aviva unveiled an app to help customers prevent, detect and manage common physical and mental health issues.

And in the following month HSBC Life introduced additional free benefits for policyholders including 24/7 remote GP consultations, mental health support and a second medical opinion.

Commenting on the outlook for 2021, Alan Lakey, director at CIExpert, said: “The focus on added-benefit services will heighten as the pandemic has shown how access to a virtual GP has provided valuable medical access since the start of the pandemic.”

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