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Consumer attitudes to protection

Royal London commissioned Opinium to run our State of the Protection Nation research to find out how people felt about their own protection needs and the industry as a whole.

By Ross Jackson, Senior Protection Marketing Manager

We surveyed people who had already taken out some kind of protection insurance and those who didn’t have any. We also asked advisers how they felt about their own protection needs, and the challenges they faced selling it.

Here’s an extract from the full State of the Protection Nation report.

It’s important that my family is looked after

Almost two in five (38 per cent) UK adults we surveyed feel it’s really important to ensure their family and dependants are looked after financially should they die. Interestingly, this figure doesn’t really change based on gender or age. However, there are two notable events that seem to influence this belief: having children, and previous redundancy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a larger number of adults with children under the age of 18 want their dependants to be looked after financially when they die compared to those adults with none (47 per cent compared to 35 per cent).

The gap isn’t quite as wide when we look at redundancy, but it does have a small effect. Forty-one per cent of those who have been made redundant in the past believe it to be really important that their dependants are looked after when they die, compared to 37 per cent who have never been made redundant. This is conceivably a consequence of financial uncertainty in the past.

But I don’t need life insurance

Our headline statistic of two in five (38 per cent) adults wanting their dependants to be looked after financially after their death seems low. However, an alarmingly similar number of adults (36 per cent) claim they don’t have a need for life insurance either.

Age also plays its part. Almost half (49 per cent) of those aged 55+ feel they personally don’t have a strong need for life cover, but the figure drops quite dramatically when we look at the younger age groups. Just over one quarter (26 per cent) of 18-34 year olds and almost one third (29 per cent) of 35-54 year olds feel they don’t personally have a strong need for life insurance. This could suggest that the remainder feel some strength of desire for the product, and that younger age groups are more open to the idea of buying life cover. It might also suggest that the 55+ age group doesn’t have a strong need for life cover as these people are perhaps less likely to have dependent children who rely on them for support .

Life cover is the most commonly owned protection cover among those we asked, with just over one quarter (26 per cent) owning some. People aged 18-34 are the least likely to have life cover with just 17 per cent saying they held a life cover product. However, the figure increases to 29 per cent and 30 per cent for the 35-54 and 55+ age groups.

These figures are low, but perhaps echo the sentiment that people don’t believe they need life insurance. It might be interesting to note that the pattern was similar when we asked advisers about their own protection. Life insurance came out as the most popular with 88 per cent of advisers owning a single or joint life cover policy.

State of the Protection Nation

You can download our full report to read more about the impact gender, age and lifestyle have on consumers’ thoughts about protection.  You can also listen to Debbie Kennedy talk about our research in a webinar 

Source: State of the Protection Nation, March 2017, Royal London.  2,000 nationally representative adults (18+) surveyed.

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