Adviser creates annual test to improve protection advice

Adviser creates annual test to improve protection advice
Managing director of broker Cura Insurance, Kathryn Knowles

An adviser has put together an annual test for her peers, driven in part by advisers who are not protection specialists getting their insurance advice “wrong” for clients.

Managing director of broker Cura Insurance, Kathryn Knowles, said she is keen to “reshape” the conversations many advisers are having with clients around protection.

Not only does she want to improve the advice itself, but she also intends to boost the inclusion of protection in clients’ financial plans and grow the practice of advisers signposting where necessary.

Priced at £65 for early bird sign ups, the test - made up of 50 multiple choice questions, 35 of which focus on product knowledge and 15 on case study application - is designed to refresh advisers’ knowledge on all things protection.

Advisers will be able to take the test from September onwards. Knowles has built a website to host the test, but is still in the process of trialling it.

She intends to pilot the test with a handful of advisers this summer and is currently applying for CPD approval. If approved, the test would count for around 60 minutes of CPD.

The test will cover life insurance, critical illness, income protection, business insurance, group cover, underwriting, vulnerable clients, and case studies.

“There is a really good mix of details which are purely protection,” she told FTAdviser. “Networks might be asking advisers to do this already, but their tests usually aren’t protection focused on this scale. Protection is often viewed as beneath people and not as important as other forms of financial advice.

“Hopefully some of the questions will lead to a reshaping of firms’ conversations to better include protection. It might also help advisers to better gauge the need for signposting.”

Knowles said one driver for designing this test was seeing clients referred to her who had received bad protection advice in the past.

“This is partly driven by advisers doing things in protection, who are not specialists, and getting it wrong,” she explained.

“With the consumer duty set to come in [April 2023], ignoring protection and not doing real training could likely become an issue for advisers.”

Knowles said both individual advisers and firms can buy the test. “Everybody can do it off their own back,” she said.

Currently, the website is hidden. But there will be a members area on there where advisers can sign up, choose a competency, and then pay to do it.

“It’s not a substitute or replacement for a qualification, it’s purely a competency exam,” said Knowles, who already provides a host of training in the protection space.