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PruProtect caught in direct sales row

PruProtect has come under fire from advisers after approaching IFAs’ clients directly to discuss linking their protection policies to inflation.

Plans can be indexed to the retail prices index measure of inflation to protect the value of the sum assured.

PruProtect says the aim is to raise awareness about the benefits of indexation and insists advisers were made aware of the plans before PruProtect began contacting customers in March.

The insurer says emails were sent to advisers and networks in December and then again in January, with IFAs given the opportunity to opt out of the service. PruProtect business account managers were also made aware of the move.

Axxis Financial Planning director Owen Wintersgill says he is not aware of receiving an email about PruProtect’s plans.

He says: “It is not for the provider to address the needs of the client. The IFA is the one who knows the clients and, as such, the provider should go through the IFA. Contacting clients about indexation is a clumsy way of addressing their protection needs.”

P3 Wealth Management managing director Frank O’Donnell says: “There is no way that PruProtect should be marketing direct to our clients. The bottom line is that this is for PruProtect’s benefit.”

PruProtect head of account development Phil Jeynes (pictured) says: “This is not us trying to sell directly to clients or second-guess the advice that was given at point-of-sale. This is a service we are providing to advisers and their clients and was provided on an opt-out basis.”

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Comments

There are 13 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Once again a Life Office makes a backhanded suggestion that advisers haven’t done their job properly when advising a client to take out life cover.

    I am pretty sure the majority of advisers would discuss the option with their clients but this action puts the seeds of doubt in a clients mind about the competence of their adviser.

    Shame on you Pru – but then again they were a direct sales based business!

  2. The article fails to mention that advisers will get the benefit of any commission uplift as a result of a policyholder exercising the indexation option.(without doing anything!)
    If the client sees the value in indexation now, there is an argument that, perhaps, it should have been sold in the first place.
    Do these advisers keep their buildings insurance at the same level for 25 years?

  3. Although teh Pru Protect product is very good, I don’t have any clients with the relevant plans, so perhaps I shoudl keep quiet, but what the hell…
    If “Anonymous | 12 May 2011 8:47 am” is correct in what they say, i.e. the adviser would get commission uplift for no work at all and provided I’d had the email and chose to ignore it, then I’d be saying thank you. If I hadn’t had the email, then I might be a bit annoyed.

  4. Baron Bolligrew 12th May 2011 at 10:07 am

    1) PruProtect announced they were going to do this last year at workshops and seminars. BDM’s have also known and advisers have been emailed;
    2) The client may have been advised to take out the indexation originally but circumstances may have prompted them to not take it at the time. As per any financial review, the discussion would be held with the client …all Pruprotect are doing is prompting the client to re-consider….guess what? This prompts more discussion between the client and the adviser. Yippee!

  5. Well done Pru, so many clients have been orphaned while many are neglected by advisers who are too busy.

  6. The issue is whether PruProtect should automatically contyact IFAs clients.

    Their system was one where IFAs had to opt out of the exercise. Far better to have asked them to opt in. This would have avoided the argument about whether the adviser was or was not contacted.

  7. stand up for life office 12th May 2011 at 3:09 pm

    just to point out pru protect and pru are two completley different elemenents of a company pru protect was sold off to soem south african company but just kept the pru name this story just reflects badky on pru that does not contact clients direct that have FAs on file

  8. Veronique Banse 12th May 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I have had an email from a furious client who has now received 15 calls from Pruprotect encouraging him to take further benefits. I called Pruprotect to complain but never even got a curtesy call back ! . We has no recollection of being made aware either by a BDM or email about opting in or out of their campaign.
    This issue here is that we are professionals and independents advisers and we did not give consent to Pruprotect to try and “sell something” to our client . We do not need some hard sale telephone consultant ( cold calling !) to interfere with our good work….It is completely out of order –
    Is pruprotect supporting IFAs or are they creating themselves a client base at a very small cost. Finally as far as the comment about commission …..it is best ignored…and completely inappropriate.
    I bet any client would be happy to pay a few pence more for their cover , simply not be harrassed by a salesman.
    Next time we will think twice about which company we recommend

  9. Good for PruProtect – this is exactly the type of proactive activity that advisers need to help them keep customers – we still get the commission and there is frankly no way that we would get to all of our PruProtect clients so efficiently

  10. I have a PruProtect product which will not let me collect points to reduce premiums from Virgin Active as I need to join the Pru Virgin Active scheme which is more expensive then my own corporate Virgin membership (I own a SME not a multi million PLC). I spoke to Virgin and they said the gym membership profit goes straight to Pru!

    The indexation mailing I recently received made me laugh as in my correspondence the mailing was titled ‘upsell campaign’. Did their marketing people really sign this off?

    When Pru rang me I asked for a full KFD. I then saw that there was to be no commission paid to the servicing IFA firm if I did index my premiums.

    Has Pru truly lost it’s mind and wants to piss off loyal HNW clients and its main distribution channel?

  11. Neil F Liversidge 17th May 2011 at 6:49 pm

    It’s not on but I would not worry about it. PruProtect’s admin is so abysmal I doubt they will ever get a case on the books. I will certainly never make the mistake of dealing with them again.

  12. Don Craven - IFA 17th May 2011 at 8:06 pm

    The fundamental principle is that a client is a client of the adviser not the provider, and a provider should not mail-shot it’s “IFA owned” policyholders. The adviser is responsible for correctly advising a client.

    I wonder how coy PruProtect is being with regard to how it indexes premiums – benefits rise in-line with inflation (RPI) but premiums will rise at RPI plus 2.5% pa compound, or if reviewable rates apply then premiums reviewed annually.

    Any wonder why advisers recommend PruProtect on a level basis? Compare that to FP, Aegon or LV which index benefits and premiums exactly in-line with RPI (using “guaranteed” rates of course).

    I also take note of Kim North’s comments as a policyholder in that Pru would not alter the adviser commission .

    Advisers have long memories and I won’t forget Pru reneging on public written promises relating to re-pricing in March 2003. Once again IFAs have reason not to trust Pru.

  13. I read the negatives with wry amusement as most of them are written with an alarming degree of ignorance.
    The debacle with investments was with UK Prudential, NOT SA based PruProtect.
    My PP Account Manager has kept me informedthroughout, and assures me that I will receive a commission uplift on any client taking up the indexation option, or, for that matter any of the otherenhancements they offer.
    He also tells me that the default option on illustrations does not show commission, leaving this, sensibly, to us to decide.
    PruProtect are doing us a favour here, and I find working with my Account Manager provides me with face to face help which we just don’t get anywhere else. His motto is not to deal directly with HO but to channel everything through him. I do and it works!

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