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Baigrie calls for fight against Euro gender rules

Baigrie at the Lifesearch protection awards last week

Lifesearch managing director Tom Baigrie has called on the Treasury and the Association of British Insurers to fight against the European Court of Justice’s ruling to ban the use of gender in pricing products.

The court ruled last week that gender pricing for insurance products will be banned from December 21, 2012. This followed an opinion statement from advocate general Juliane Kokott last year saying that risk rating using gender amounted to discrimination.

Speaking at the annual Lifesearch Protection awards in London last week, Baigrie said: “There has been some suggestion that a specific protection trade body could have stopped the ECJ ruling.

“In truth, I doubt anything could. But I do hope that the Association of British Insurers or the Treasury could find a way of challenging this frankly ignorant threat to London’s vital ins- urance market.”

He questioned whether different pricing for men and women was discrimination or simply differentiation based on “mathematically and scientifically proven grounds.”

Baigrie added: “You could ask whether the ECJ’s commitment to the fine cause of equality has perhaps led it to put religion ahead of science and therefore has it more acting like a medieval pope than the libertarian philosopher it aspires to be.”

Baigrie also used his speech to highlight the benefits of independent adv- ice versus protection sold in the non-advised telesales environment.

He said: “It seems most consumers need plenty of comfort and persuasion before making proper protection buying decisions. It is also becoming clear that providing that comfort and persuasion over the phone without giving advice is not honestly possible.

“If providers are still supporting those in that telesales channel, I think what they are doing is known in another trade as aiding and abetting.”

Protection winners

The Lifesearch protection awards 2011 were held last week at the Hiscox Arts cafe in London, The winnners were:

  • Best service provider: Axa
  • Best underwriting team: Ageas
  • Best e-commerce provider: Ageas
  • Most improved provider: PruProtect
  • Best critical-illness insurance provider: Axa
  • Best income protection provider: Unum
  • Best new initiative: PruProtect
  • The Nick Crossman award for best marketing and communications: LV=
  • Best protection story: Life cover at a premium, by Jo Thornhill, The Mail on Sunday
  • Best individual impact: Dave Warren, PruProtect
  • Best overall provider: Ageas
  • Best protection leader: Richard Verdin, Aviva


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Totally agree with Tom. The lunatics etc……

  2. One opinion is that selling non-advised on the phone allows the consumer to buy the product they want at a cheaper price than they would pay through an advised model.

    Surely Tom is contradicting himself with his constant complaints towards non-advised protection sales. On one hand he wants everyone to be able to know about, afford and buy life insurance and on the other doesnt want the companies who sell the same product as an IFA at a cheaper price to exist.

    This one man mission to rid the market of non-advised sales is a thinly veiled (and fruitless) attempt to make more money with Life Search. Who are obviously being undercut by businesses who provide cheaper policies to people who otherwise might not have bought life insurance. Something which is obviously hitting his pocket hard.

    Click and such companies were bad examples of non-advised – I agree. Similar companies should be banned. But branding all non-advised to be bad for the industry is no less of a discrimination than sexism or racism – as Tom is so obvioulsy saying if one is bad they are all bad!

    May i finish by quoting one of his advisers “well you need to buy it through us because we offer advice” – really?

    If this is the face of advised sales then surely it is them that should look at how they treat customers – and Tom should understand some people want to make a decision on their own, with a simple product bought mostly on budget or a need they have identified themselves . Or (as Tom aludes to everytime i hear anything he says) customers should they be told what they already know, made to pay more for it and then “because we have given you advice” hit with a cancellation fee as well.

    He is right about the gender equalisation though – almost as ridiculous as saying all telephone based non-advised sales are the same as Click.

  3. I totally disagree, Anonymous. How many clients, without seeking advice, would take out an index-linked term assurance over a level term plan or would arrange income protection instead of AS cover or critical illness cover? Few I would imagine.

    If a client is unable to afford, or more likely unwilling to budget, for critical illness cover protecting their full mortgage then how many would cover half the mortgage, or arrange a years worth of income as a lump sum? Who would arrange a budget income protection plan if full cover stretches the purse strings too far? Again, few I think.

    You cannot condemn Tom by wanting to protect his income by including a fee agreement. Is this too dissimilar to an IFA working on a fee basis, yet without the upfront cost to the client?

    As a former LifeSearch adviser, I think it is laughable to suggest Tom’s constant assault on these non-advised sales is purely with a view to increasing LifeSearch’s profit margin. No, I’m not naïve to think that Tom would like to improve his profit margins, but he could remove LifeSearch Care as an offering on each plan, cut the payroll by losing the staff whose primary job it is to help a client through the claims process and remove the budget which allows staff to take industry qualifications at the expense of the company instead.

    Just out of interest, you didn’t say what advice you were offered by the adviser you spoke to…..

  4. I totally understand your view point – and to be fair think that Life Search offer a good solid service to their customers.

    In response to your opening statement. It is nieve to assume a non-advised company cannot or would not try and upsell a policy to include some CIC or cannot explain an index linked policy.

    Non-advised only means that you cannot “tell” a customer what they should buy. Instead you can explain different options so long as the customer makes the decision themselves.

    This is the flaw in Tom’s arguement – non-advised is actually more customer led than advised as the customer can make a decision based on information they receive. Now you could say that non-advised cant explain CIC or an index linked policy – but seriously are these products really that confusing!

    Advice has its place – investments, pensions etc. But life cover is not so complicated you need to pay extra or pay for advice, and I see you didnt disagree with my comment that it is discriminatory to assume all non-advised are like Click.

    Oh and the advisor quoted me for the policy I asked for – there was no advice… was just more expensive.

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