'I can't afford petrol; how can I afford premiums?'

'I can't afford petrol; how can I afford premiums?'

Natural consumer behaviour is to cut back on spending as the cost of living crisis bites but the challenge for the insurance industry is helping to keep families protected.

The chief executive of Holloway Friendly, Stuart Tragheim, said communication was vital at this time to help keep Britons covered.

Speaking on the latest FTAdviser podcast, Tragheim said: "Making ends meet is the challenge for consumers. The challenge we have as an industry is to ensure that protection is seen as essential, rather than non-essential spending. 

"We need to encourage them to understand the difference between price and value - and that the value of a protection policy is the guarantee of securing a client's greatest asset - themselves."

Also on the podcast was Debbie Kennedy, chief executive of Lifesearch. She said: "We did some research with consumers earlier this year, and they were expecting to be about £3,000 a year worse off.

"How do we convince consumers that we should get a share of that precious household income? 

"To some extent, it goes to the heart of what we do. A premium that is relatively affordable is in fact a safety net that they are putting in place. 

"We talk about financial resilience so it is up to us [as advisers] to help them recognise they are doing something good by trying to maintain some cover. This could give them financial resilience as well as mental wellbeing." 

Alan Lakey, founder of CI Expert, was also on the podcast. He said he had not spoken to many clients who were worried about not being able to afford premiums, although cost was always part of discussions.

He told editor Simoney Kyriakou: "We have been through this before - high inflation and high interest rates in the early 1990s - so many people will have gone through something similar before. 

"The message in a sense is 'This is temporary' and, as Tragheim said, insurance is not optional. It is something you must have as the financial implications of death or serious illness mean consumers will be worse off [without cover] than in their current position."

The guests also discussed various ways in which cover could be made less costly, such as discussing payment holidays with providers or seeing what add-ons might be taken off the policy permanently or temporarily to help reduce the monthly cost. 

"There are some really good solutions", said Kennedy, "But there is definitely more we could be doing."

Also taking part in the podcast was FTAdviser intern Lucy Evans, who prepared a short report on how insurance professionals can help people remain covered amid the cost of living crisis. 

To listen to the full podcast, click on the link above.