This week we unveiled our Protection Guru 2021 product ratings providing objective benchmarking and measurement of insurers various products for life insurance, critical illness with and without children’s cover, income protection, mortgage protection life only, mortgage protection with critical illness family income benefit life only, and family income benefit with critical illness.

Each medal table provides a comprehensive summary on a single page of the measurement of each of the various different products from insurers in that product area, making it easy for advisers to clearly identify which are the high-quality products, the alternative economy versions and where the differences occur. For each product type we have measured 10 underlying elements of the products, based on the different features that are prioritised by advisers when using our free product quality comparison software. From each medal table users can then click on each individual product (or select the product from a drop-down menu) to be taken to a one-page summary of the products, their strengths and where, by comparison with other similar products, they could be improved.

This service is designed to provide quick access to comprehensive analysis of the products which can easily be downloaded or printed as part of the advice suitability report or other compliance records. When doing so both the medals tables and fact sheets for each insurer’s product and proposition can now be personalised by advisers to show their own details and those of the clients they have been prepared for. This is intended to provide further valuable evidence to support recommendations, both as appendices to suitability reports and for compliance files.

Users do need to login to access this and an increasing number of other new features we will be rolling out in the coming months so if you have not already registered please do so here. You can use either your business email address or Unipass to register with the service. Because of regulatory guidance on data security that goes back to the days of the FSA but is still current that the regulator does not consider webmail a secure form of communication for advisers, we are not able to accept web mail addresses such as Gmail, Hotmail etc. If you wish to use a webmail address you will need to do so in conjunction with Unipass to add an additional layer of security. 

We have received some great feedback from advisers concerning the ratings and this new feature, for example Financial Planning consultant Tracy Wood posted on LinkedIn  “These are great thank you for compiling these they are so useful when sourcing protection. Your website as a whole is a godsend”. Equally Christine Newell of Paradigm Mortgage Services added “what a really useful tool and I have some new advisers looking at training in protection products this will certainly add a lot of value to them and existing advisers. Thank you Protection Guru” and Matthew Chapman responded saying “Fantastic resource. Thanks Ian, Adam, Steve and the team at Protection Guru for compiling these product ratings….” A big thank you from all of our team to those advisers and the many others who have sent positive messages in response to our ratings, it really means a lot to our team who do go to immense effort to produce these ratings which take many months of detailed work. I do hope more and more firms will use the medals tables and factsheets to add to their suitability reports and compliance records, now they can be personalised for clients.

I would ask everyone who wants to fullest possible access to our sites to register as soon as possible so that you’ll be able to access tThe various additional services we are introducing as they go live. 

In other studies this week we looked at the important issue of when can family income benefit be increased without underwriting. Like many people I believe family Income Benefit is a hugely underused product which can provide very significant levels of cover at minimal cost to young families. As such it can represent excellent value. In current times it’s never been more important to understand which contracts can be with increased without further underwriting so we think this study is very timely. Guardian, Legal & General and LV= were all called out for high praise in this feature although it’s really worth Reading the detail to get into the granular level of who does what.

In other significant developments this week we saw Legal & General increase non-medical underwriting limits for income protection. Again something that is very welcome Given the significant increase interest in this important cover in the light of recent events. These increases made it a really good time for us to look at Who offers the best support during income protection claims AIG, Vitality and Zürich are the insurers who really stand out in this exercise, there are lots of positive lessons that could be learnt by others.

In advance of “wear it pink day“ on 23rd October Adam Higgs looked at how in Breast Cancer awareness month critical illness plans cover the condition. This featured some invaluable insight from our independent medical panel on key issues advisers should understand especially around the difference  severities of the condition. 

To wrap up the week Steve Berry put together a summary of features available on life insurance policies, the latest in our Everything You Need to Know series. These regular updates which bring together several other studies to provide content that should be good learning material for new advisers or those wishing to refresh their knowledge. 

Our virtual forum meetings are becoming increasingly popular month on month and we have just set the agenda for our November Protection Guru Forum. This will take place on full November between 10:30 am and 1230 and will cover;

 Session 1: Adapting to the COVID/post-COVID world

 – What has changed?

 – Client meetings/engagement

 – Provider processes

 – Medicals & underwriting

– Do advisers need more regular updates from insurers on their COVID stance?

Session 2: Impact (Advantages and disadvantages) of mandatory income protection discussions in:

 – Mortgage advice, financial planning, wealth advice

 – Should FIB be part of this conversation?

– What do IDD & MIFIDII require?

Tickets are available from the link above

Also worth covering this week is the summary on our sister site benefits Guru of Aviva’s new mid-life MOT app. This is being made available to everyone not just the Aviva customers so around of applause to Aviva for providing valuable help when everyone is going through such a difficult time. If you are involved in workplace pensions or employee benefits I would urge you to register at BenefitsGuru.co.uk to receive the regular updates that are provided in a similar way to Protection Guru.

That’s all from me this week. Have a wonderful weekend and an equally successful week next week.