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‘Raise recognition for family income benefit’

Lifesearch has challenged product providers to raise the profile of family income benefit easier which it sees as a neglected product.

The firm believes family income benefit is undersold and stuck in an antiquated form of distribution, impeding sales and stopping families protecting themselves.

Sales may be suffering because few providers have online offerings. FIB makes up a very small percentage of protection providers’ sales.

Senior technical adviser Kevin Carr says that despite FIB being a good product, clients are often put off by the name which he says sounds like a state benefit rather than insurance.

FIB is a term insurance product that, once a claim is made, pays a regular inc-ome for the remaining term of the policy instead of a one-off lump sum.

Lifesearch believes that some brokers prefer to sell traditional life cover because the lump sum can be used for investment purposes which would yield more commission.

But Carr says it is mainly providers which are at fault as they are unwilling to increase FIB’s exposure in the market and make changes on distribution.

Lifesearch made just 335 FIB sales last year, with most business placed through Legal & General and Liverpool Victoria.

Carr says: “FIB is a good product. If it was appreciated as a form of life cover, its profile would be raised. The instalments remove the risk of having to invest a lump sum and, especially if the family has a young family, an income is a better option.”

Scottish Widows market director, protection Nick Kirwan says: “Technically, Kevin has a point but often a client will choose a lump sum over an income. Remember, it is easier to make a lump sum into an income than it is to make an income into a lump sum.”

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