Which?’s Martyn Saville tells the Protection Review that some of the products sold by the industry are really fantastic and should be celebrated. He has also suggests that it may be possible to talk about what you are protecting including difficult things like death. This strikes me as a huge departure from the previous attitude of many consumer groups. But how scary would Which? like the industry to go in its marketing?
Paying too Much’s Michael Ward (formerly boss of DL&P) asks intermediaries what percentage of their single life term assurance is placed in trust comparing this unfavourably with Lloyds/Widows direct sales and suggests it should have to be included on IFAs’ RMAR to improve the statistics.
Lloyds Bank/Scottish Widows Johnny Timpson notes that the Consumer Insurance Act due to come in April gives providers much more of an interest in how restricted advisers advise (I don’t think many advisers whether IFA or restricted know this) and says the bank is definitely on the hook for its advisers’ advice given changes to agency law.
FOS’s Melissa Collett puts the aggregators on the spot on this issue asking for their attitude to the act with a fudged answer from Moneysupermarket. A spanner in the aggregators’ works perhaps.
“The act will change the legal situation. Providers will be responsible for a wider group of distributors than before. The point of act is to look after the consumer in this situation,” says Collette.
Lifesearch’s Tom Baigrie says customers are not put off because of worries about IP and CI not paying out but because it is not in their consciousness. On the advice issue, he says almost no consumers who go online want advice but most of them need it and as far as possible they should be persuaded they need it.
Baigrie also suggests that simple products might not need underwritten to be simple but asks what would they cost (a lot he implies) and would it be good advice. Which?’s Saville says they need underwritten and mentions that PPI as what could go wrong without it.
Plan Money’s Peter Chadborn suggests that providers need to help educate non-specialist IFAs who may sell more protection to keep up IP and CI sales in this challenging climate.
There is a big debate about what happens when a customer is left destitute when they hit problems and have the wrong cover. One view from the floor is that life offices should at least tell customers that other types of cover are on offer when they buy. Moneysupermarket’s Emma Walker say they will consider how they might incorporate this into their thinking.
For next year, Which? says one of the biggest challenges next year will be stopping the cancellation of policies from cash-strapped consumers.
Baigrie says that from quarter one next year prices will rise but adds that this will hurt his non-advised rivals who simply churn. (a little tongue in cheek perhaps). Chadborn is not expecting a big change in business levels – perhaps a reflection of how the good bit of the advice market operates. More analysis tomorrow.