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Advisers welcome NU move to revamp protection range

Advisers have welcomed Norwich Union’s decision to undergo a complete redesign of its protection range and research a guaranteed protection product.

Money Marketing last week reported that the firm is scrapping its current protection range and “starting from a clean sheet of paper” in a bid to meet consumers’ protection needs.

MM also revealed that NU is researching a protection product which, for around a 3 per cent extra premium, is guaranteed to pay out. The firm will test the concept on its online forum this week, asking customers, “Would you be prepared to pay extra for a guaranteed payout?”

NU’s protection overhaul will start in October with around 70 in-depth interviews with consumers and advisers aimed at determining what consumers need from a protection product and why many drop off in the application process. It will then test ideas generated from the research.

The process, which NU has used to overhaul its investment and post-retirement offerings, should take around four months. Its current range will be scrapped and the new range is expected to launch in early to mid-2008.

Director of risk products Willie Mowatt says: “We are starting from a clean sheet of paper. We want to determine what consumers would value and benefit from in a protection product. We don’t know what we will come up with but it will probably be fundamentally different.”

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “I think it is a move forward for companies to start talking to advisers who I would suggest know better than their marketing people what products are actually required. Products have been designed in the past by marketing departments based on what they think should be sold whereas advisers and consumers to some extent know what they want.”

Lakey also gave his views on the NU initiative in last week’s Money Marketing TV on www.moneymarketing.co.uk.


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