Wealth of new announcements and detailed analysis from protection guru
Let me start with a huge happy birthday to a man who does so much to make Protection Guru happen; step forward and take a bow on your big birthday Mr Adam Higgs! I’m sure all Protection Guru users will want to join me in saying a huge thank you for all you do.
It was a busy week in the protection market kicking off with two insurer announcements from Royal London and Zurich on Monday. It’s well worth reading the full review from Rob Harvey of Royal London’s new Helping Hand wellbeing benefits, which includes amongst other things a 24/7 GP service.
The mutual has done some great things with the launch, but we are disappointed with the execution and have a fear that this will have a significantly adverse effect on the amount the new services are used. What’s the point of having great benefits if you don’t deliver them in a clear and concise way to consumers?
There are lots of lessons for other insurers to learn from this and hopefully Royal London will revisit the execution of what are otherwise great benefits very soon. Later that day we brought you the news of Zurich’s latest updates, including a stand-alone critical illness policy, improvements to their TPD definition and a new online relevant life trust journey.
Tuesday’s insight examined which insurers provide the best estate administration service, whilst on Wednesday Rob focused on the age limits of business protection life and critical illness cover. These are both great studies packed full of information to help advisers understand who the best insurers are in different circumstances.
On Wednesday we also launched our new Aegon Showcase Page, which joins a host of other insurer showcase pages and provides an overview of the USPs of Aegon’s protection proposition. These showcase pages are the way we look in detail at an insurance proposition overall, what are their strengths and where can they do better. We believe they are a powerful resource for advisers and in an interactive and easy to digest format, they highlight some of the important features and benefits different insurers offer. It’s probably always worth a quick look over the showcase pages for a particular insurer before you recommend a contract from them just in case there are any additional benefits or shortcomings you want to highlight to the client.
While we do work with the insurer to create these, editorial control remains entirely with Protection Guru so you’re always going to get our unvarnished version of the truth on these pages. In Aegon’s case this page explores their Price Pledge, Policy Plus benefits and various protection options for IHT planning.
Monday’s announcement from Royal London made it a great time to look at what the rest of the market offers in terms of the health checks and similar services and this is exactly Rob Harvey did on Thursday exploring which insurers offer health MOTs and how they compare. Some surprising conclusions on this one. Essential reading if you want to be up to speed on an area that is proving increasingly influential.
We finished the week with a round-up of content from our claims hub, looking at insurer claims processes – 6 things you should read. There is no part of what we do that is more important than paying claims so I’m sure every adviser will want to understand who really deserves plaudits. I would suggest some very valuable weekend reading which could supply you some useful and structured CPD.
If you haven’t read it I’d like to call out Setul Mehta’s excellent piece on protection review on the subject of added value benefits. This is such a crucial area where significant enhancements are being made to contracts that move them to being something that helps clients year in year out, rather than just being something that only really makes a difference when a catastrophe happens. That said, if such benefits are going to be delivered clients need to know about them so they can use them when they need to. I agree with the vast majority of what Setul is saying although I think we can be more creative in some of the delivery. His thoughts are well worth reading.
Finally, one last thing from Protection Guru, this week we announced the date and part content of our next Protection Forum which will take place on Tuesday 8th February, at 12:00pm-2:00pm.
The first session will cover how the industry can create clearer and simpler communication. This will be followed by a discussion on “How can we be sure consumers understand what they are buying when they take out Income Protection.” A recent study suggested 55% if consumers taking Income Protection believed they have unemployment cover. Given most Income Protection plans do not include such cover, and most of those that did were withdrawn during the pandemic, is there a need for greater consumer clarity?
These online meetings always stimulate a vigorous debate and advisers can register for a free ticket here.
Over on Benefits Guru this week we focused on how pension providers are supporting the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) Retirement Living Standards. These were developed to help savers picture what kind of lifestyle they could have in retirement and to help them think practically about what they need to save in order to meet the living standard they want to meet in retirement.
We have looked in detail at what they mean for savers, employers and advisers, and which workplace pension providers currently support them.
AdviserSoftware.com started the week by highlighting our analysis on the Synaptic Product & Fund system. The tool enables users to compare and filter pension, investment, and protection products, aiding advisers in the selection of an appropriate product and strategy for their client.
On Thursday, we revisited our November AdviceTech Forum that focussed on the international developments in financial planning software. In Part one, our guest panellist Robert Kirk explained how InterGen Data is working to improve how advisers create a roadmap of a client’s spending over their lifetime by considering probable changes in financial circumstances and health. Regular delegates at our Empowering Technology Through Advice conference will remember this system walked away with one of the “Best in Show” awards in 2020 and Robert has continued to develop the system so it has capabilities way beyond traditional financial planning tools. If you want to know what financial advice will probably look like five years from now you need to understand what InterGen are doing.
Lastly, I wanted to remind everyone that it is not too late to register for our January AdviceTech Forum that is taking place next Tuesday at 12pm. As I said last week, if you are an adviser wanting to share your thoughts on what platforms and savings providers could do to help you more, or you work for a platform, insurer, asset manager, DFM or technology supplier to any of the above you really should join this event!