Improving consumer access to protection
She suggests that while it is unethical to remind a client of the likelihood of something happening to them when taking out a policy, not having a conversation about the importance of some kind of protection could be just as bad.
“Of course, not everyone needs it; some people already have huge protections through their employers or have something else in place.”
Regulation needs to step up
Ms Smith says she wishes regulation would say more about protecting the customer “because we are a hugely under-protected society”.
Change is needed so that families are not left “destitute when something horrible happens”, by ensuring that “if you are putting a family into debt, should one of the people whose name is on the mortgage get a critical illness, suffer a stroke or become unemployed, there should be more focus on ensuring they can remain in their house and be protected”.
But she admits a shift to increased consumer protection can only happen in tandem with protection becoming a lifestyle choice, and not just a product.
She says: “I find it frustrating when people insure their Sky dishes, mobile phones etc, but not their children, spouses or partners.”
She continues: “Life insurance, income protection, critical illness, serious illness benefit – all of these things are such a critical part of society and I wish the regulator would focus more on this.”
She also says that if mortgage brokers or advisers have the customer at the heart of what they are doing, then they should have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to regulation.
She says: “This is why we are not worried about the changing regulatory landscape too much – it is usually things you should already be doing."
She continues: “I do not think any of us mind those changes and while they can be a pain – because it means upheaval, diverting resources, changes, compulsory training and all of those good things – if the end consumer is going to be better protected then it can only be a good thing.”
Victoria Ticha is a features writer at FTAdviser.com and Financial Adviser