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Direct Life sets up academy to boost protection sector

Sales director Verdin says training is only way to close protection gap.

Direct Life & Pension Services is launching a Protection Academy in a bid to reduce the UK’s £2.3tn protection gap by boosting advisers’ confidence when selling protection.

Sales and marketing director Richard Verdin says “training, training and more training” is the only way to close the protection gap and as a result, DL&P has decided to launch the Academy under the LifeQuote brand.

Verdin says: “The protection gap is an advice gap. Those gaps would not exist in such a big way if people were getting good advice. The Protection Academy is about growing the market generally.”

The academy will be based in several training venues around the UK but there will also be a strong online element, with information and educational material available on the web.

DL&P will provide courses tailored to different levels of competence in the market, for example, for those advisers that rarely sell protection and those that only sell life insurance with mortgages. Verdin says DL&P is working with a third-party comp-liance firm to provide exams at the end of the courses to test the competence of advisers and increase their confidence in selling protection.

DL&P trained over 1,100 advisers last year by holding one-day workshops.

Verdin says: “Advisers have lost confidence post-regulation but confidence comes from knowledge and therefore education is the key. It is not economically viable for individual insurers to train the distributors so we are setting up the academy as a way to tackle the protection gap.”

Lifesearch head of protection strategy Kevin Carr says: “We are in favour of anything that raises the profile of advice and protection. We have been working with the Personal Finance Society to see if there is the potential to develop an advanced protection exam.”

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