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An annual protection awareness day – a small good thing

Admit it. You’re bored with journalists such as myself always banging on about the need to get more people in this country to take out adequate protection to support themselves and/or their families should disaster strike.

If you attend many industry events or debates you’re probably bored with the obligatory “How the hell do we close the protection gap?” debate where passionate and eloquent commentators find it hard not to swim round in circles repeating the wise words they gave the year before, and the year before that.

There are, of course, no easy answers to significantly increasing the take-up of protection.

However, there are a number of small good things that should get people thinking a bit more about the consequences of not being insured and then, hopefully, do something about it.

One of these is the creation of an annual protection awareness day. We launched a campaign earlier this month with former Ageas Protect managing director Martin Werth to try and turn his idea into reality.

The proposal is pretty simple. On the same day each year, insurers would send out a similar looking statement to customers highlighting their current levels of protection.

The aim is to get people thinking and talking about their cover and asking themselves, and others, whether they have enough cover and the right cover in place.

The statements would urge people to speak to their IFA, if they have one, or details of how to find a local adviser if not.

A number of providers have already come out in favour of the concept of a protection awareness day and the ABI, who should be best placed to organise the logistics, says it is considering the idea.

Some insurers already offer an annual benefit statement so we are not talking about a huge extra cost burden that would be passed on to the client.

After a mountain of criticism over the last few months it would be great if the Money Advice Service used some of the £43.7m it is paid by the industry each year to help promote the day. It certainly seems a better use of funds than its previous “unbiased” advertising campaign.

A protection awareness day on its own is not going to miraculously transform the levels of under-protection in the UK. But alongside the increased focus on group risk which should accompany auto-enrolment, the growing range of decent adviser protection training available and (hopefully) the continued high-profile advertising campaigns from insurers, it could make a big difference to the lives of many people who previously had not thought enough about cover.

We’ll be working with Martin the coming week’s and months to try and turn this idea into reality and will let you know how we get on.

Paul McMillan is the editor of Money Marketing- follow him on twitter here

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Comments

There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Much debate on this topic at the moment.

    See also Jeff Prestridge’s Guest Blog here:

    http://www.uncovered-uk.com/2012/03/14/protection-awareness-day/

  2. I cannot see any good reasons why this should not get full endorsement and support, too many people are financially vulnerable, and a root cause is lack of sound basic information, when people are young and with no dependants they are not predisposed to listen, Although there is info in the money made sense website, a heightened special day will create more awareness, and the benefit will be less crisis reliance on the state,

  3. One of the main problems is the “state will provide” syndrome. The overwhelming presence of the welfare state has lulled so many into a sense of dependency, and a feeling that it is the state’s responsibility to provide. The culture of feeling responsible for one’s own welfare and that of one’s dependants is greatly diminished.

    When I joined the industry back in the seventies, the welfare state was nowhere near as all-pervasive as it is now, and people were willing to accept responsibility for their own future well-being and that of their families.

    Under the coalition the pendulum is gradually, but very slowly, starting to swing the other way, but there will always be a massive protection gap whilst people are nannied and encouraged not to accept personal responsibility.

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