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Questions, questions

Insurers – why do insurers call themselves manufacturers when they don’t make anything? Why do providers keep on adding illnesses covered by their criticalillness policies they know will not result in a claim?

Why hasn’t anyone found a way of assessing an applicant’s health at an acceptable premium that does not involve writing to GPs? Why don’t providers properly align their descriptions of occupations for IPB? Who was it who thought that new PTA was a good idea? Why do insurers spend so much on GP reports when they don’t need to? Why does the industry have so many different names for the same products? Stand-alone critical illness, the one that does not pay if the illness is so serious that it kills you, should we call it pretty bad but not that critical illness?

How come everyone knows that the income protection product needs work to improve confidence among advisers and increase sales and yet no one has done anything about it? Are insurers surprised by the effect of incentivising actuaries with short-term bonuses? Why can only some actuaries hold eye contact?

Why not delegate underwriting authority – reinsurers delegate it to insurers and look what happens? Why are all insurers’ efforts directed at scrapping over a share of a shrinking cake? Why do they not work together to grow the size of the cake?

Sellers – why do most advisers only advise on/sell those products which customers are quite happy to buy without advice online? Why do they not use advice to differentiate themselves? Why would someone sell a “bog standard” level term insurance to a healthy life at a higher price than they needed to just to reduce their earnings’ period?

Why do some people sell critical illness in preference to income protection (or vice versa)? Are such preconceived notions compatible with providing advice? Why would anyone seek to reduce the way customers can choose to buy their cover? Why would an adviser accept the risks of (a) filling a medical disclosure form out and then (b) trying to accurately rekey it, all for small commission uplift?

Are advisers really the right people to ask customers intimate medical questions at the end of a mortgage sale? Why do people still compare commission using Lautro when clearly it can be misleading to do so? Do advisers explain that TPD means total and permanent disability? If so, why are 65 per cent of claims declined? Will Fortis ever launch? Why do so many advisers treat protection as a luxury add-on to a mortgage purchase instead of an integral part of a customer’s needs?

Customers – why do some customers not tell the truth about their health when they apply for cover and yet expect to still be able to make a claim? Why would anyone deliberately non-disclose on an application and then pay premiums for something that clearly won’t work for them?

Regulator – why is there no professional qualification for advising on protection? Why isn’t the FOS more accountable and consistent in their decision-making?

All – if we were all starting over again, would you plan for the industry to work the way it does and, if not, why do you accept it for what it is?

Richard Verdin is sales and marketing director of Direct Life & Pension Services


Ploughing the yield

International income funds continue to attract more traction in terms of new launches. This is a result of a real sea-change in so far as international markets are paying an income at all.


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