Focus this week in the Protection Industry was on the most important thing we do, paying claims. There were some outstanding examples of insurers and advisers going the extra mile to get the very best outcomes for consumers. This theme started with Aviva announcing their new claims initiatives. These are simple but very effective ideas, which Protection Guru reader Peter Barton correctly identified “their customers will remember those little touches for a long time”.

If you have not already read this piece everyone, advisers and insurers alike should spend some time thinking about the lessons that can be learned from this. You need a heart of stone not to be touched by what the company are doing with Project Teddy. The fact that they have even been able to pay a children’s CI claim within 30 minutes of initial notification, shows the huge benefits their customers and the company, are all gaining from their Aviva Quantum Artificial Intelligence engine.  Also, the approach to paying cancer critical illness claims, by contacting, with permission, the beneficiary’s specialists cancer nurse, stets a standard for others to follow. Can anyone fail to be impressed by the fact that Aviva haver taken the average time they take to pay these claims down from 60 days to 25 hours? Yes that is 25 hours as an average!

At Protection Guru we have tried to do our bit this week by producing a summary of all the Critical Illness claims videos various insurers have supplied to us in recent months. This page is designed to be a resource for advisers to share with clients to demonstrate that insurers really do pay out and the impact a critical illness claim can have on a family in this situation. The page also includes the thoughts of author and blogger Heidi Loughlin who was advised to take out Critical Illness cover, but did not, before being diagnosed with breast cancer.

None of the above are what I consider the most important claims payment story of the week. That comes from Emma Astley at Cover My Bubble who succeeded in persuading an insurer who had originally applied a breast cancer exclusion due to an incorrect disclosure when the client got breast cancer. Find out who the insurer was who reversed their decision and read the whole story here. As an industry we should all be proud of how this was handled.

We also held our first Virtual Protection Guru Forum this week. A tremendous turn out for a first event with over sixty adviser firms including Assured Futures, Barclays, Cura, LifeSearch, London & Country, Mortgage Advice Bureau, Paradigm, Primus, St James Place and True Potential as well as many others. From the insurer side of the industry Aviva, Guardian, LV=, Legal & General, The Exeter, Vitality and Zurich also participated.

It was great to have both many of the most influential advice firms in the industry participate with several new voices, all of whom shared some incredibly valuable insight and experiences. We will be producing a summary for these the life offices, advisers and technology suppliers who joined the event. If you would like to be invited to participate in the next event in July message me via @LinkedIn

As part of the preparation for our virtual forum Alain Desmier from Contact State wrote a great analysis of the different regulations advisers buying leads need to comply with from the Advertising Standard Authority, Financial Conduct Authority and Information Commissioners Office. All advisers should know the detail of this information and his commentary is well worth a read.

We also produced our usual quota of analysis to help advisers understand key issues about protection cover and which insurers stand out with different product features. On Monday we looked at additional benefits in Key Person and Shareholder Protection plans. Aegon, Royal London and LV= lead the field in this analysis. On Tuesday we considered who makes it easier to increase Income Protection cover this was another case where it depends on various issues, so you really need to read the full analysis from the link above.

Wednesday saw us turn our attention to which Income Protection products help terminally ill clients? Cirencester Friendly and Holloway Friendly are not normally names I get to call out in this column, but they certainly deliver the goods in this area. Thursday was our day for looking at which insurers offer trauma benefit within Income Protection. AIG, Aviva and Zurich took the starring roles on this occasion.

All in all, I think a great week for the protection industry in showing how we can make a difference to peoples lives. Looks like we are going to have equally good weather at the weekend, so enjoy the sunshine but please stay #SociallyDistanced.

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