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Protection can profit from crunch times

The protection industry is well positioned to take advantage of the credit crunch although a number of tough challenges lie ahead, according to speakers at the Protection Review.

In London this week, the review’s chairman Andy Couchman said the credit crunch was bad news for most of the financial services industry but he believes protection is the exception.

“What we are seeing is the credit crunch is forcing more people to say, should we be looking at better health and protection to make up for what is happening in areas like mortgages and investments,” he said.

Couchman said the past year has seen advances in tele-underwriting and innovative processes that had benefited the protection industry.

He said: “We are seeing a possibility of recession but here we are in an industry where life insurance cover has never been cheaper so we should be in a good position to roll through that situation.”

Pacific Life Re chief marketing officer for the UK and Ireland David Heeney said it has been a tough and challenging year but one where significant progress has been made.

He said: “The market is not dying quite to the extent that we thought it was going to but I suspect that next year is not going to be particularly good news.”

“We are managing to keep pace with the housing market. The volume of protection sales relative to the number of mortgage loans has at least held its own.”

He said that the industry’s aim of growing new business volumes failed to materialise in the past year.

Heeney revealed research showing that 30 per cent of intermediaries believe that the market has made some progress in the quality of advice, despite a year-onyear comparison showing a dip in protection business all round.

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