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Protection Watch: Engaging with selfies and making claims personal

Protection Review chief executive Kevin Carr looks at recent market events

Protection Review chief executive Kevin Carr looks at recent market events

Innovation: Strike a pose

Is new technology from the States a gimmick or ground-breaking?
Legal & General America has come up with an innovative new use for the selfie that promises to replace the traditional life insurance application process with a much faster, cost-effective and accurate alternative.

The new SelfieQuote.com site uses facial analytics technology to provide an indicative quote by estimating an individual’s age, gender and body mass index using their photo. Individuals can then provide exact answers and receive a personalised quote, before applying online.

Could this initiative deliver on its promises? Assured Futures managing director Ian Sawyer says: “While I love to see innovation in our sector and anything to make the process of buying cover easier for consumers, I fear this initiative will add an inaccurate layer into the process which could actually end up making it more convoluted.”

Alea Risk underwriting expert Andrew Wibberley says it feels more like a customer engagement tool than an underwriting one. “It sounds like a good way to use technology to improve engagement. Finding ways to deliver a more relevant and meaningful message than ‘cover starts from as little as £10 a month’ (which is generally only true if you’re younger, healthy and don’t smoke) is a smart way to start a personal conversation about protection.”

Might we see this in the UK market? John Hyde, managing director, direct-to-customer, for Legal & General Insurance, says: “The new campaign is a great first for our US colleagues; an innovative way to engage customers and raise awareness about the affordability of life insurance. We will be watching the results here in the UK with great interest.”

Conference: Brave new world

Be more human. Make things easier. Be Braver. Those were the key messages coming out of the Protection Review conference held in London recently.

Speakers and panellists felt advisers can help grow the protection market by working in partnership with other professionals and taking advantage of innovative new product developments. While some speakers focused on what providers could do to help make protection products and the customer experience more appealing, it was also acknowledged that innovation and market growth is evident.

Pacific Life Re’s James Tait drew attention to Royal London’s diabetes cover and VitalityLife’s Wellness Optimiser as recent attempts to “personalise” protection. iPipeline and Aegon were the big winners on the night, taking home two awards each, while the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Nucleus chairman and Skandia founder Paul Bradshaw.

Claims: In it for the money?

A recent poll has found that 87 per cent of people across the protection industry agree the “claim is our core product, not the policy”.

This follows LifeSearch chief executive Tom Baigrie suggesting at the 2017 LifeSearch awards earlier this year that the real product people are buying is the claim, and that paying as many claims as possible is essential to growing the market.

Commenting on the poll results, advice firm Light Blue UK owner Mark Dennison says: “I’d agree with the overall outcome. How successful the claim is – and how much confidence customers have in claims being paid – determines their view of the policy and the industry overall. So, ultimately, the claim is what they are buying.”

Also on the radar…

  • Aviva will now pay £11,000 when life cover claims are submitted to help families meet immediate costs such as funeral expenses.
  • Research has found 31 per cent of adults have experienced temporary or permanent leave from work due to ill-health, a cancer diagnosis or bereavement, with more than three quarters (77 per cent) saying their finances have suffered.
  • One in seven British employees do not use their full holiday allowance, according to a recent poll. The survey of 2,000 British adults, commissioned by Monarch Airlines, found 49 per cent of those who do not use their holiday allowance feel as if they do not have enough time.

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