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Hidden strengths

Tap into neglected areas of CI such as child cover to lift sales.

The protection industry is constantly looking for ways in which to improve the products on offer – and this is never truer than in the case of critical-illness cover.

This endeavour is undoubtedly positive in that it has led to innovations such as PruProtect’s serious illness concept, the continued evolution of traditional CI plans through the Association of British Insurers’ reviews and the advancements insurers make to their own products, such as Bupa’s part-payment for low-grade prostate cancer and mastectomy. However, it can also mean that those selling the contracts fail to focus on some of the innate strengths of CIC.

We receive many requests from IFAs for training in practical sales, particularly around the recommendation of CIC. Often the best tech-niques involve looking at the specifics of the plan being sold and demonstrating to the customer what CIC can offer.

A fantastic example of this is children’s cover. Having been a staple part of CIC for some time now, this feature is rarely touched upon at point of sale and, if it is, is generally mentioned in passing rather than singled out for further explanation.

This is not only a failure to treat customers fairly, it is also a colossal waste – it is well known in protection sales that people are less likely to ignore a risk if it concerns their kids.

Children’s cover is included in the CI offerings of all major providers and ranges from a maximum of £20,000-£25,000 per child claimant (or half of the overall sum assured). Typically, a child claim does not affect the overall sum assured for the parent and most providers do not restrict the number of children who can claim on a plan.

This feature is not a hastily added headline-grabber, it is a vital core component as demonstrated when you look at the statistics. Friends Provident count children’s cover as their fifth most common claim after cancer, cardiovascular, multiple sclerosis and stroke. Bupa shows children’s CIC as their sixth most prevalent payout and Bright Grey have it as third, accounting for 7 per cent of total claims.

According to Cancer Research, there are around 1,500 new cases of childhood cancer diagnosed every year although they only count those aged 15 or under while CIC will permit children’s claims up to age 18. Plus, CIC does not just cover cancer in children but the majority of core conditions.

Giving time to children’s cover at point of sale is a must. It ensures the client is fully informed, strengthens the recommendation and adds real value to one’s advice, since children’s cover is not always included in plans bought directly over the internet – Bright Grey’s online Lifestyle product, for example, does not carry its usual £20,000 of cover for clients’ children.

Product innovation is important but we must not lose sight of how relevant our existing products already are.

Phil Jeynes is head of new business at Direct Life and Pensions Lifequote

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