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Providers have failed over consumer protection message, said NU

Protection providers have failed to get the message out to consumers about the importance of protection, according to the protection panel at Sesame’s second annual Symposium conference in London yesterday.

Speaking at the conference Norwich Union head of protection marketing Louise Colley said while protection seems to have defied the recession, policy sales are slowing. She blamed a lack of consumer understanding around price and poor messaging for the slide.

Colley said: “We’re getting our messaging wrong to customers. What we do need to do is look at how we change the messages to customers and as an industry we’ve got a challenge to change those messages.”

Panelist Zurich protection propositions and marketing director Peter Hamilton suggested using shock tactics to get the message out. He said: “Something that is hard hitting might actually shock people out of their complacency”.

Colley also said providers have failed to promote price and affordability to attract new business.

Comparing a life policy in 1970 for a single male with £100,000 sum assured, on a 25-year term was £30.90. As at today that premium would be £9.50, according to Colley.

She said: “When you ask consumers why they don’t buy protection, in the top four of those answers one is always affordability. As an industry we have failed at getting across the message of pricing. Still, customers have got no clarity around affordability and we need to address that.”

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This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

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