Insurance: Will things ever change?

Insurance: Will things ever change?
Kevin Carr speaking at conference. Source: FTAdviser/SKyriakou

Britons still have a negative view of life and health protection, which the whole industry must do more to address.

This was one of the opening remarks at the Protection Review 2021 Conference, held today (Wednesday 8 December) at the Landmark Hotel in London.

Kevin Carr, chief executive of Protection Review, said there was still an evident problem with consumer trust and engagement.

"We’ve all seen the surveys - 'It’s too complicated, it doesn’t pay out, my work will cover me, the state will cover me and so on'. But what do we do about it? Not an awful lot."

He said post-pandemic it was clear more people were becoming interested in protection but even though there were some successes, there was still a big gap between the perception and the reality.

He said: "I wonder, will things ever change? We all know payouts are high - 90 per cent or more - but the public still thinks claims payouts are at 50 per cent at best."

Earlier this month, research showed that, post-pandemic, Generation Z were found to be more likely to have life insurance than Generation X.

While interest in protection seems to be increasing among younger people, and the gender protection gap is closing, Carr said changing perceptions and improving trust and communication needed a "collective" effort.

Carr also told delegates: "It is also difficult for people to make a claim or to buy insurance. There are difficult hurdles [for people] to overcome. 

"In the collective move to be all things to all people, have we made things too complicated?"

His comments were followed by an interview with Stephanie King, a nurse who contracted Covid and long-Covid in the first wave of the pandemic, and who had a positive experience with her protection provider. 

When she had first taken out her protection policy, some of her friends said it was a lot of money to pay out each month.

She said: "I thought I really need to be protected, and it is more than affordable a month if you break it down."

During the pandemic, she ended up being off work for 10 months and was concerned about not being able to get an income. But, thankfully, King's protection policy kicked in and the insurer agreed to pay her £1,600 a month.

In the end, she received a payout of £17,500 over 12 months. She said she knew of other people who "hadn't taken my advice" to take out a policy and ended up with Covid and no income.

"One friend had no choice but to max out her credit card - there was no safety net whatsoever", she told the conference.