I’ve been doing this protection lark for some time now. It is twenty years since I became a mortgage adviser on the high street selling protection alongside loans, and nearly 15 years since I became ‘employee no.10’ at a little firm in London called LifeSearch.
One thing that was and still is great about LifeSearch is the positivity, something that it seems is lacking across the industry of late.
I sometimes wonder if we’ve forgotten how to be positive.
The troubling thing is it’s a self-perpetuating circle – the more negative the industry is the more everyone believes it. The more everyone believes it, the more negative people become. The more people say protection is boring the more people think it is boring. The more talk there is of falling sales the more sales will fall, and so on.
Let’s take Income Protection as an example. Poor sales yet it’s the product everyone should have. Life cover outsells IP by ten to one but we know most people won’t die during the policy term, yet they might however be off work for a while, making IP a much better product. It’s time Cinderella came to the ball. It’s all been said before too many times to mention.
But let’s think about it differently. There’s around 20m working adults in the UK. Half of which wouldn’t realistically benefit from, nor purchase IP, either because they are far too rich, or the opposite. That leaves us with a realistic target audience in the region of 10m. Over 4m have IP either personally or through their employer. 40 per cent of the market ain’t too bad. Yep – if we can sell 1m life policies a year we should be able to sell 1m IP policies a year, but if that were the case there would be nobody left to sell to in about six years time.
The same point could be made about so called protection gaps and I love it when I see insurers talking about the cover people have got as opposed to what people haven’t got.
So let’s get positive.
The protection industry has a lot of good news to tell people. A little bit of positive thinking might just go a very long way.
Kevin Carr is chief exeuctive of Protection Review and managing director of Carr Consulting & Communications