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Plugging gaps, Annual Statements and Consumer Duty

Plugging gaps, Annual Statements and Consumer Duty

It was another busy week at Protection Guru last week, with a lively forum, a big product update and a lot of work going on in the background to make our services even better for advisers. With Consumer Duty drawing ever closer, it doesn’t feel like things are going to slow down for the summer holidays and in the next couple of weeks we will have some really exciting news to share.

I am going to start the wrap up of what happened last week with The Exeter’s launch of their new First Job Promise and Redundancy Premium Holiday. The Exeter have form for adding unique features that aim to plug gaps or deficiencies in cover. We first saw this with the addition of their “Employer Change Promise” when they launched Income First. The addition of the First Job Promise fits this mould perfectly and should give more confidence to advisers when giving income protection advice to clients in their first year of employment after full time education. Whilst not groundbreaking in terms of the overall impact and only likely to impact a relatively small number of potential clients, I applaud The Exeter for looking at ways they can make their cover more relevant to more people.

Following The Exeter’s announcement on Tuesday morning, on Tuesday afternoon we held our monthly forum. We have been running our forums for over 15 years now, but they have really flourished in the virtual environment and we had a record number of attendees and people joining the conversation on Tuesday. The subject was annual statements which is something of a déjà vu for me as one of the very first forums I attended here 11 years ago was on this very subject.

Back then as a newbie to the forums I remember Emma Thomson, Roy McLoughlan, Kevin Carr and Ian McKenna all vehemently banging the drum on why it is important for insurers to issue annual statements for all protection plans and not just the ones where something changes. Whilst we had different voices last Tuesday and we heard of a small number of insurers that do it well, broadly the message is exactly the same. My one hope for Consumer Duty is that the requirements to demonstrate ongoing value will lead to all insurers issuing annual statements on all policies. One thing that is very clear to me is that just selling a protection plan and doing nothing on an ongoing basis (whether you are an adviser or the insurer) is not Consumer Duty compliant.

We will be publishing the first transcript from the session this week and until then, I’ll get off my high horse and wish you all a fantastic week!

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