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Review of 2004: Protection

Protection was a mixed bag, with life cover doing well but little signs of the protection gap being filled by critical-illness cover or income protection policies.

The FSA says 4,500 insurance firms have not registered for authorisation, with regulation only four weeks away. The first half of 2004 brought the angioplasty debate to a head as most providers decided to remove it from their CI lists, as well as keyhole surgery on heart valves and aortics.

Royal Liver and Axa Life launched their protection propositions in the second half of the year. The Prudential brought PruHealth and Standard Life and Scottish Equitable moved to create more sophisticated online systems for IFAs.

Reinsurers started to loosen their Scrooge-like grip as providers such as Bright Grey for the first time have been able to offer guaranteed rates on CII. But Bright Grey products director Roger Edwards says: “The protection market still remains tougher than it used to be.”

Direct Life & Pensions and LifeSearch continue to slog it out for the mantle of top specialist broker.

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