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Martin Werth: How to close the gap

Fortis Life UK  managing director Martin Werth says he is disappointed that the consumer protection and insurance engagement campaign did not develop but says the industry still has a role to play in closing the £2.3tn protection gap.

Werth says despite the CPIEC falling short of funding last year, leaders in the insurance industry must still find ways to develop the industry.

He says: “We’re disappointed that the campaign could not develop, but those who are leaders in the industry should , as part of their leadership role, be able to develop the industry.

“There is an asymmetry of knowledge between what we as an industry have and what the customers have and if we are going to bridge this protection gap we have got to break it down into bite-size chunks – perception, relevance and want. Do we know what they have got, is it doing what they expect and can we create want.”

Werth also says there is a duty for employers to ensure employees have the relevant cover by highlighting any gaps between salary and what benefits firms offer staff.

For IFAs, Werth says there is a great opportunity to raise awareness and deal in protection over the next five years. He says: “The time is right for many reasons. There are many customers who have just bought term assurance who we should be revisiting to see where they need more cover. We have a mortgage market that is starting to wake up again and we have got an indebted population who are now much more aware of their personal responsibilities and are thinking much more about how to protect themselves against the liabilities.

“For those reasons there is a great opportunity for protection in the next five years, starting now.”

Currently most insurers have “too many gaps” in their propositions, namely value of cover, underwriting simplicity and post application processes, says Werth. However, going forward he says Fortis will develop new products in line with demand. He adds: “There are new products on the horizon which we are thinking about.

“If there is a demand for something we are not providing then we will consider it. If there is  business case to be made then we would prioritise it.”

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Comments

There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Ignoring the public’s apathy, and the lack of financial education and responsibility that the public evinces, I believe that the most pressing requirement is to get that chunky proportion of financial advisers, currently focusing on wealth management, to dedicate themselves to protecting client finances rather than simply aiming to enhance them.

    Protection is sold. This has never been more true than today. Every IP plan that I have arranged in the last two years was at my behest. Only one client in two years has asked for critical illness – in every other instance I broached the subject and explained the need.

    If advisers took protection more seriously and accepted that they need to be pro-active then the gap would be much reduced.

  2. Ignoring the public’s apathy, and the lack of financial education and responsibility that the public evinces, I believe that the most pressing requirement is to get that chunky proportion of financial advisers, currently focusing on wealth management, to dedicate themselves to protecting client finances rather than simply aiming to enhance them.

    Protection is sold. This has never been more true than today. Every IP plan that I have arranged in the last two years was at my behest. Only one client in two years has asked for critical illness – in every other instance I broached the subject and explained the need.

    If advisers took protection more seriously and accepted that they need to be pro-active then the gap would be much reduced.

  3. CPIEC failed due to not everybody falling into line behind the proposition.

    This was in part due to a key element, that is distribution not being involved.

    If something is really going to happen then ALL parties have to be prepared to support

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