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IFAs are urged to move into general sector

The move to bring general insurance and mortgage advice regulation under the FSA is an opportunity to market general insurance alongside life products, according to Swiss Re.

At the annual Health Insurance conference in London last week, Swiss Re technical manager Ron Wheatcroft said IFAs looking to expand their businesses should consider combining general insurance with life products.

He said that providers which have been prevented from marketing life and general products together because of regulatory differences, would be able to design menu plans which combine all insurance products.

The changes, which see the FSA regulate general insurance, protection and mortgage advice from 2004, remove a major barrier to these products being sold together, said Wheatcroft.

He conceded that there is a potential problem in this sector regarding term or whole-of-life plans which are generally renewed on at least a five-year basis while general contracts are usually annual with premiums changing constantly. However, Wheatcroft said this should not matter as long as consumers are aware of the differences.

Wheatcroft told Money Marketing: “Now we have a single regulator which from 2004 will be responsible for regulating both life and protection business. There is an opportunity to bring it all together under one product umbrella.”

Legal & General protection event director Ronnie Martin says: “A customer tends to view these types of products under one insurance heading. But because of the traditional way these products have been distributed, it would require a shift in the way that the market operates.”

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