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Protection plateau

The Association of British Insurers’ first-half sales figures show protection sales at a standstill.

The protection industry saw growth of 0.2 per cent on the same period last year. Protection premiums reached £260m in the second quarter, making a half-year total of £518m compared with £509m in 2006.

Sales of mortgage-related term insurance were down by £14m to £163m, although sales of other term cover rose by £14m to £161m. Stand-alone critical-illness insurance business rose to £22m from £18m while income protection sales were static at £24m.

Most life companies have now released their half-yearly with Standard Life seeing protection sales halving, Prudential’s business dropping by 33 per cent and Aviva’s protection sales down by 23 per cent.

Companies which reported rising sales saw only small increases. Market leader Legal & General’s sales were up by 5 per cent, Aegon Scottish Equitable’s business rose by 2 per cent and Friends Provident was up by 1 per cent. Bright Grey bucked the trend with a 24 per cent increase.

ABI head of protection Nick Kirwan says: “The protection market remains steady but there is still a very big and growing protection gap. Recent ABI initiatives to make protection insurance applications and policy documents clearer are helping to increase the number of claims that are paid and improve consumer confidence. There is a great opportunity for advisers to help boost the protection market and the industry will continue working with them to ensure that it is taken.”

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