This signposting agreement means that if an insurer or broker cannot offer cover because the client’s age is above their age limit, then they are automatically referred to an alternative provider or to Find Insurance, BIBA’s not-for-profit signposting service.
Health has been addressed too, with work undertaken to help those excluded from protection insurance.
In early 2020, a group of insurers, protection insurance groups, charities and other stakeholders launched a signposting agreement to help people with disabilities or medical conditions to access protection insurance, following the creation of the Access to Insurance Working Group in 2018.
Again, the agreement is for providers to signpost customers they cannot help because of their medical condition or disability, to a company that can.
As Tom Conner, director at Drewberry, explains: “Where some advisers are ‘tied’ or work from a panel, they might not be able to gain cover for clients with significant medical disclosures.
“Likewise, if a client goes direct to a provider and applies online it could be declined, where another insurer could offer cover. For these circumstances, BIBA has added protection specialists to its Find Insurance service, and the uptake of this is looking very positive.”
BIBA added protection to the range of insurance offered by the service in January 2020 and by August this year had received 4,500 enquiries.
Tapping into the knowledge of the adviser community can also be useful for advisers seeking to signpost a client, as Kathryn Knowles, managing director at Cura Financial Services, suggests: “To find a specialist firm, the adviser can chat to other firms that they trust to see what they do.
"Also, if the adviser is part of a network, it probably has specialist firms that they can use that have already been vetted.
“A specialist adviser should have had training and extensive experience of working with vulnerable clients."
She adds: "Ultimately, by engaging with a specialist, the client gets the cover that they need and the referring adviser gets a share of the commission that the policy generates, where otherwise there might be none.”
It is not just specialist firms that can help, as Timpson says: “It’s key that we also signpost to charities and specialist services where appropriate, such as Turn2us for welfare benefit and grant entitlement, GriefChat for bereavement and Mental Health UK.”
Knowles takes a similar view: “There are also organisations such as Rethink Mental Illness, the Money and Pensions Service, and Mental Health & Money Advice that advisers can signpost clients to.
"Advisers should have numbers for the Samaritans and emergency services to hand, too.”
She adds: “Another step that firms could take is to install accessibility software like Recite Me on their websites (this allows web users to customise websites according to their needs and preferences, including people with dyslexia, the visually impaired and the neurodiverse).