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What impact is technology and innovation having on protection insurance?

This article is part of
Guide to innovation in protection

Mead explains further: “This means that if someone is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition, which isn’t as a specific condition covered by the provider, it may still qualify as a valid claim.”

Ian McKenna, founder of FTRC and Protection Guru, says one major development he has seen is the increasing availability of independent medical analysis of critical illness conditions. Services like QualityAnalyser.com and iPipeline’s product features report give advisers an assessment of which policies are most likely to pay out for an individual based on the client’s age, gender, smoking history and the term of the policy. 

McKenna adds: “Importantly the [above] services are based on the professional expertise of doctors and others working in the health service. 

“Some other services offer a similar assessment based on the views of individuals working in the insurance industry. However, our view is that when comparing medical terms, you really should use assessment by medical professionals.”

Other examples of innovation advisers say they have seen in the market include Aviva introducing a free annual blood-based health check as part of its Digicare+ plus service to keep policyholders engaged with their health and their insurance plans, and Zurich’s recent launch of a new pre-application tool, which helps advisers have a much better understanding of how clients with pre-existing conditions will be underwritten, using the same underwriting engine as their applications.

However, one area that according to McKenna needs more innovation is income protection, which advisers see it as a crucial core offering to have in place.

“With income protection, a lot still depends on the philosophy of the insurer and their attitude towards paying claims. There are important parts of the community, in many instances those that would benefit most from income protection cover, for whom the current wordings leave a lot to be desired. 

“For example, people who suffer significant fluctuations in their income and particularly small business owners who frequently use dividends to provide a major part of their income. Very few, if any, income protection products deal with dividend-based income well.”

Income protection remains a far better policy than CI for those worried about mental health, especially where their ability to work is impacted.