Quality of advice vital for critical illness plans

Quality of advice vital for critical illness plans
Alan Lakey, founder of CI Expert.

Critical illness plans have improved in quality over the past decade, with far fewer advisers selling on cost alone, the founder of CI Expert has said.

Alan Lakey, founder of CIExpert, said: "The last decade has witnessed the quality of critical illness plans improving immeasurably."

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the protection comparison tool's launch in 2012, Lakey said: "We believe we have influenced some real changes, with far fewer advisers today selling on cost alone and many changing their client conversations to focus on value and upselling."

Lakey said the tool has been used by more than 40 per cent of protection advisers over the past decade.

He also cited figures that showed, over the past 10 years, CIExpert has seen:

  • More than 24,000 advisers entering 1.1mn clients into the system.
  • An average sum assured of £108,000, translating to over £120bn in insurance decisions made and influenced through its system.
  • In the past year alone, almost 10,000 adviser enquiries have been managed.
  • CIExpert’s webinars have reached nearly 5,000 advisers.

Lakey added: "We genuinely believe that by creating a service that gives advisers the ability and confidence to truly evaluate critical illness plans we have contributed to the quality of advice for their clients in a truly meaningful way."

To celebrate the past 10 years, CIExpert held a small awards ceremony in London last night (Wednesday July 29), at which Lakey said: "We wanted to use this 10-year milestone to reflect and celebrate the best of our industry from product design and innovation, through to commending those that lead and champion in this market."

Industry commentators were quick to congratulate Lakey and the CIExpert team for the work done over the past decade. 

Neil Davies, commercial director at AIG Life, said: “Critical Illness is at the heart of the cover the protection industry provides to people. It matters and it has supported thousands of people and families through arguably the most challenging times anyone can face into.

"As a critical illness provider, we really value the support CIExpert has given us, enabling us to make brave decisions that lead to better customer outcomes."

Davies added that, by always "holding a mirror up to the industry", CIExpert has positively challenged the industry to "think and rethink about what’s right for customers and their families. It’s only now that we call this consumer duty".

Similarly, Phil Cleverley, chief underwriter at Scor Life UK & Ireland, said: “Critical Illness has been a cornerstone of our development in the UK over the past 20 or so years and we have always been impressed by the depth of research that underpins CIExpert’s analysis.

"We welcome how they are changing the discussion around CI with a clear focus on ensuring products continually evolve to better meet customers’ needs. Increasing adviser confidence to sell the product is key to getting more families protected."

During the past decade, CIExpert has launched several upgrades. As reported in 2017 by FTAdviser, one of the significant changes was to introduce a new feature looking at children's cover in policies to help advisers make more informed choices.