Income protection sales are set to make up 20 per cent of The Openwork Partnership’s overall protection sales this year, prompting the advice network to dub its drive to support the product a “success”.
In a statement published today (December 9), Openwork said IP sales have increased year-on-year since 2014, with the average policy holder aged between 34 and 35 - a figure which has fallen year-on-year.
Typical IP holders include teachers, nurses, builders, accountants, and carpenters, according to Openwork.
Based on this data, the network decided to set up an in-house ‘Protection Challenge Team’ to support wealth as well as mortgage and protection advisers to expand into new markets and explore new products.
This is home to an internal adviser team which acts as a virtual office for network members unable to service their business. This sees the team take on all protection activity on the back of mortgages for members.
The arm is also supported by staff from the network’s propositions, marketing, business development, and compliance departments.
Openwork’s IP resources of late for its advisers have included best practice workshops outlining common myths about the product, interactive sales presentations with links to claims videos and calculators, as well as internal awards recognising ‘Protection Heroes’.
“Income protection is fundamentally the product that clients are most likely to need as the risk of not being able to work is far greater than the risk of death, yet it’s always the case that life cover sells much more which is what we have tried to address,” said Setul Mehta, Openwork’s business development and adviser services head.
“It has been a long-standing focus at The Openwork Partnership, but the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of vulnerability and its effect on ability to earn which illustrates the benefits of income protection perfectly.”
The network said it has worked closely with the Income Protection Task Force, in part by supporting IPTF’s Income Protection Awareness Week which took place earlier this year.
“Working with networks is vitally important to the success of the work IPTF is doing to raise awareness of IP and it has been particularly impressive to see how dedicated The Openwork Partnership has been to prioritise the need to protect income and supporting this message with members,” said Jo Miller of the IPTF.
“We look forward to seeing how [Openwork] take this work forward and to working with them to achieve their ambitions.”
Last month, Openwork joined forces with specialist broker Cura Financial Service to enhance its protection proposition.
By launching this firm to the network, Openwork allows its advisers to get help with clients who have specialist protection needs such as life, critical illness, and income protection insurance.
Openwork is one of the UK's largest financial advice networks, with more than 4,300 advisers. It is owned by its adviser members through the Openwork Partnership.