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Dedicated line

It is a current obsession of mine – for which I make no apologies – that while protection remains the poor relation of our industry, it ought to be the bedrock. If you are unconvinced this is the case, then you are simply not paying attention.

People will find excuses to sell anything other than protection, claiming it is the fault of the products and that they or their clients are not certain a claim will be paid. This is a smokescreen put up to hide the fact that selling protection, while a fundamental need, is a longer process and consequently is less remunerative.

There are a worthy few who do believe that selling protection is vital and something they have to introduce to their clients. However, they are a minority and we need to change this. We have to develop a new generation of protection advisers who realise the huge importance of the products they sell and who are comfortable in focusing on this area.

One obstruction to this development is the lack of a formal high-quality protection qualification for advisers. The very fact that no qualifica-tion already exists is evidence of what I maintained at the start of this article. To set high professional parameters, there must be an educational stand-ard which will enable advisers to gain knowledge as they train and to attain excellence.

One focus of the ongoing debate about the retail distribution review has been on training and education but protection has not been considered as it is not part of the implementation plan. This is unfortunate because there is a pressing need to develop the concept of protection advisers and to create a profession proud to specialise in that area.

I know a number of the leading protection advisers and I do not know any who do not approve of a specialist protection qualification. Group risk development has done an excellent job in creating a qualification for group intermediaries which will hopefully prove a catalyst for the creation of top-quality group advisers.

Doing something similar is a huge priority for the protection industry and it is one we must attend to without delay.

There are a number of things that must happen before we have anything like the protection infrastructure we need. It is imperative that we develop a generation of high-quality, well-trained protection advisers. Estab-lishing a proper dedicated protection qualification is one of the first steps we need to take.

Peter Le Beau is managing director of Le Beau Visage

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