PruProtect, Zurich, Ageas and Ellipse have committed to joining the Income Protection Task Force’s awareness campaign Seven Families.
Representatives from the four insurers pledged their commitment to the PR initiative at its launch in London last week. A total of 12 insurers have now backed the scheme.
Swiss Re’s latest market snapshot report shows 90,794 IP policies were sold last year, down 18 per cent since 2011.
The IPTF hopes the campaign will increase awareness and take-up of income protection. It is working with charity Disability UK to select seven families from across the UK to take part.
It is asking for donations of £20,000 from participating insurers and will pay monthly income to seven families where the main breadwinner is unable to work due to illness or injury.
IPTF co-chair Peter Le Beau (pictured) said he expects each family to get a maximum of £20,000 over the year, or 48 per cent of the total budget. Another 22 per cent of the total will go to making a series of films charting the families’ progress.
“Around 21 per cent will fund communications and 9 per cent will go to Disability UK.
Le Beau said: “I have been talking to companies over a long period about funding. We have been talking about ‘in principle’, but from today onwards we are talking about a real commitment.”
Concerns over campaign backlash
During the launch event for the Seven Familes campaign last week, Unum chief marketing officer Marco Forato said he supports the campaign but there could be a backlash if it looked like insurers were trying to undermine the welfare state or if success was judged on sales. Protection Review chief executive Kevin Carr said the campaign would be measured through research and customer feedback.
Income Protection Task Force co-chair Peter Le Beau said it would be wrong not to launch the campaign just because there might be criticism. He said: “This has to be as brilliantly executed as we can possibly make it. We need to show how we change people’s lives.”
Why providers are backing Seven Families
“There has been some criticism that either the campaign does not go far enough or that it may meet with cynicism on social media. I believe the positive outcomes are worth the risk. It is about time the protection industry put its money where its mouth is and demonstrated the value of its products.”
PruProtect head of account development Phil Jeynes
“This initiative is a positive and imaginative attempt to do something about the lack of public understanding of the financial difficulties they can face if they are off work for any length of time through illness or injury. We need to appeal to emotion as well as logic.”
Zurich head of retail propositions Peter Hamilton
“Case studies are one of the most powerful ways to highlight the support a regular financial contribution can make to a family in need. Income protection can at least take away some of the financial worry and leave people to concentrate on getting better.”
Ageas Protect head of marketing and propositions Steve Casey
“The public has been underwhelmed about the value of IP because the risks seem remote. This campaign will bring the subject to life and engage people in a fresh way.”
Ellipse chief executive John Ritchie