Protection Newsletter Spring 2021

PROTECTION NEWSLETTER 4 PROTECTION NEWSLETTER 5 in terms of hard cash, but the value-added benefit services that have been a lifeline for many, evidenced by the usage of such services seeing a significant increase. The ABI claims report for 2020 details that over £200 million has been paid out in response to COVID related deaths alone. The average pay-out on individual policies was £13,100, while group policy pay-outs averaged £74,600. For those who have been proactive in reminding clients of those added value benefits available on both individual and group plans, I am sure that your clients are grateful to you. Look forward II know from personal involvement that the industry is doing some soul searching too, reflecting on what it did well during the pandemic, where it fell short in some cases, and as a result what can be learnt and amended going forward. In many instances, updated processes and procedures have already been implemented to keep the best of the positives, and attempt to eliminate the negatives. It is not only providers themselves who are being active, the Income Protection Task Force (IPTF) have recently restructured and are attempting to raise the profile of income For those who watch horse racing, the words “the final furlong” or “the final fence” will mean something, a year on from the last major sporting event in 2020 before lockdown began. In some way, we could be seen to be entering the final furlong of COVID-19, in the United Kingdom at least, and it will signify in many instances something of a return to normal life. As we are looking to pass the “finishing post” on 21st June, I am sure that it will be a great feeling for most of us, and to keep the analogy running hopefully there will be no obstacles to make us fall at the last hurdle. I would imagine that when we do finally emerge to some sort of normality in the UK, many will begin to reflect in a quiet moment on what the pandemic has meant personally, and perhaps from a business perspective too. Hopefully then we can look forward in a positive way, and in some instances plan on how we may do things differently as a result of what we have learnt in the past year. Reflect From a personal point of view, many will have suffered loss due to the pandemic of family or close friends, and in many cases, clients. For those people, the pandemic will lay heavy for some time. For those involved in the life assurance industry, there is comfort in knowing that the industry has played a major part in supporting families who have suffered losses and, in many instances, supporting those who have suffered illness as part of the process too, whether that be physically or mentally. That support has manifested itself not just The Final Furlong Mike Allison Head of Protection Paradigm Protect protection to many who may not have seen the value of that product in the past (across both consumers and intermediaries) and are working to specifically to raise awareness of this. Nearly ten million people will have benefitted from the furlough scheme and “getting paid when you are unable to work” will have been an eyeopener for many where it was not previously. The ABI Protection Group are involved in trying to improve the pace at which medical evidence is supplied to insurers using iGPR reports. In more cases, insurers are asking more direct questions of applicants in an attempt to bypass some of the evidence required. This process is still not as slick as it could be by any means, however the pandemic has led to at least a greater focus on the issue. Providers are also focusing in on the evidence of earnings for income protection too. When products were designed many years ago, most people had one job with one income. With many people on furlough, as well as the updated economic landscape which now sees people with two, sometimes three jobs (including zero-hour contracts), this has meant insurers need to adapt their product models to reflect these changes, and I am aware this is a change providers have been considering. Plan Most of what is written in the section above revolves around the industry’s response to the pandemic, but I am sure that many individuals amongst you will have a plan to increase protection awareness to clients, if not to increase protection sales. Google analytics has shown that the term “life insurance” is being used more frequently in searches today, than it was at the height of the pandemic. Consumers are hungry for information and there is no better place to get it than from an independent adviser. This coincides with most of the research in the area currently, showing that brokers are receiving more questions from their clients regarding life products compared to before the pandemic. The opportunity for advisers has never been greater. There was an adage that life assurance needs to be sold and not bought - instances this past year have shown that has not been the case - consumers flocked to the aggregator sites in the early stages of the pandemic and did indeed buy. Whatever area of business you operate in, there are heightened opportunities to highlight the need for protection, as none of the below sectors have been immune to the impacts of COVID-19: • Family • Mortgage-based • Investments/Wealth • Business/Corporate • Group Risk As you develop your own plans going forward, I am sure that the articles in this edition of our Protection Newsletter can add some value, and I hope that you enjoy reading them. Paradigm will continue to evolve the opportunities and support we provide to all our members to navigate the evolving landscape of the pandemic, and from a personal note would like to thank all providers (life and GI), and of course all our members, for supporting Paradigm Protect in a highly successful year of trading. I do hope you and all your families continue to stay safe until the final hurdle has been crossed. T – 03300 536061 E – [email protected] W – Stay safe, Mike Allison Head of Protection ● Protection Market Update