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Concerns raised over provider G-day comms

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Experts say providers are failing to communicate with advisers about an EU ruling which will force them to offer gender-neutral rates on insurance products from 21 December this year.

In March last year, the European Court of Justice ruled gender pricing for insurance products will be banned.

The ruling, based on a challenge by Belgian consumer group Test-achats, followed an opinion from advocate general Juliane Kokott that using gender as a risk factor when pricing insurance is discriminatory.

The decision will affect the way insurers price annuities, life insurance, income protection and critical-illness cover.

Protection Review chief executive Kevin Carr says: “We have spoken to hundreds of advisers in recent weeks and it seems that around half of those we meet are completely unaware of G-day and the potential client issues it brings, not just for protection for also for annuities.

“There are many advisers who don’t always see stories in the trade press and who don’t have dedicated broker consultants, and the message is not getting through.”

PlanMoney managing partner Peter Chadborn says: “The gender directive is massive because if you have a male client who is thinking of retiring in the next three or four years, there is a very strong argument to say that decision should be made before 21 December.

“We have not had a single phone call from a broker consultant to talk about this. We have received marketing blurb but that often isn’t read.

“If advisers are not made aware of this they could face some angry calls from clients who have lost out.”

F&TRC managing director Ian McKenna says: “It is concerning that despite all the noise about the gender directive the message isn’t getting through to such a large number of advisers.

“It is clear that we need a joined up campaign to make sure advisers know the details as soon as possible, and it’s not yet too late to make this happen.”

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. ‘We have received marketing blurb but that often isn’t read’

    Maybe you should read it then? problem solved. next…

  2. My point is that I believe life offices are missing a trick because this message is a perfect opportunity for their broker consultants/account managers to contact the advisers with whom they are aspiring to build relationships. This message has clearly not got through to all advisers and so I suspect a phone call would have been welcomed and demonstrated that the broker consultant/life office was trying to add value to the relationship.
    (We have read the marketing material and acted upon it).

  3. Fair enough Peter and thanks for clarifying your point. I suspect the problem is most life offices generally only target accounts that submit a certain amount of business to them, and the accounts that submit one life application every few months will natually be left off the contact list.

    This is purely driven by cost of course, but the end result is these advisors will only receive the bulk marketing material (which as you point out is generally ignored)

  4. If an adviser is not capable of keeping up with changes to legislation this big without having a broker consultant contacting him, then he shouldn’t be advising clients.

  5. That is exactly the case, Dave. I think most of us understand why life office support has significantly reduced but this issue is an open goal in terms of valid reasons to make direct, one to one contact. If there is one phone call to make all year, this is it!

    Andy, its hard to disagree with you. The intention though is not to apportion blame to either side – more to highlight where effective communication is lacking.

  6. Interesting debate here, and I certainly agree its a two-way process. That said, no one ever reads all the marketing blurb in any industry. The issue here with protection is that some/many advisers don’t write it that often and therefore aren’t experts and don’t always pay close enough attention. And if the life offices aren’t going out of their way to tell them either we have a two-way problem. Hence the key point of raising the issue – for me both life offices and advisers need to do more.

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