Life insurance company Aviva has unveiled details of its new cost-of-living-support scheme for existing individual protection customers.
As reported yesterday by FTAdviser, Fran Bruce, managing director of protection at Aviva, said it was important for companies - especially ones the size of Aviva, which has approximately 18.5mn customers across various geographies - to help Britons who are struggling with the cost of living crisis.
As part of the support scheme, Aviva has begun communicating with protection advisers to outline how the scheme will work.
According to Bruce, the scheme will operate alongside the payment deferral scheme that was put in place during Covid-19 for any customers experiencing short-term financial difficulty.
She said: "The cost of living is very difficult for people and it is unclear when things will improve, so alongside our short-term assistance, we have expanded the options to increase flexibility and address customers’ future needs, as well as highlighting the importance of advice in the process.
“We know when times are tough for customers, they are tough for advisers, so we have expanded the support and tools available on Connect to make managing existing customers’ policies easier for them.
"By making these changes, we aim to help advisers work with their clients to keep some cover in place rather than cancelling their policy outright.
The scheme aims to:
- Help customers with longer-term money worries keep some valuable protection cover in place over the next few years by reducing the sum assured on their policy to make their premiums more manageable.
- Customers will be able to buy a top-up policy to bring their cover back up to a maximum of the previous level after one or two years when their finances are back on track.
- Advisers can notify Aviva about any customers who require this support and provide advice on their options, while Aviva has pledged to keep the adviser fully in the loop.
- Aviva will send communication 'nudges' to advisers and clients after one year, and after two years, to remind them of the opportunity to bring their cover back up to a maximum of its previous level.
Customers who contact Aviva directly to discuss their money worries will be prompted to speak to their adviser before making a decision.
Where they choose to proceed without advice, Aviva will contact the adviser, with the customer’s consent to inform them of the change and keep them copied into relevant future customer correspondence.
Bruce added: “If financial pressures ease in a year or two, we’ll provide a simple route to return the protection cover back up to a maximum of the customer’s previous level.”
Clients can decide at a later date to top up, which Aviva said would be a "simple process" of purchasing a new policy for the extra cover with just a few medical questions.
Customers can apply to buy more cover at any other point, or extend it beyond the original cover level, by going through our standard application process.
In addition to this service, the intermediary team at Aviva will be hosting a series of Adviser Online Digital Roadshows about the cost of living.
Using a case study about a family who are struggling financially due to a large increase to their monthly mortgage payments, the sessions will highlight the options and tools that Aviva can provide to advisers to help them to support their customers in similar situations.
The sessions will highlight how advisers can track warning signs of customer lapses and cancellations via the Aviva Connect site, as well as the mechanisms to help put payment back in place.