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Slower rates of change in protection market

With product changes and over 40 rate changes, the protection market during 2003 was volatile to say the least.

In 2004, we expect further rate and product changes. Liverpool Victoria has recently announced a rate change for January but hopefully we will see less frequency and less volatility. The market should stabilise compared with 2003.

The critical-illness product is not broken yet and sales should continue to increase. However, in the race to develop a new-style product, the danger is fragmentation if providers flood the market with an array of alternative – and potentially inferior – solutions.

LifeSearch feels that the market could settle pretty much where it is now, with an effective product at a sustainable price. Guaranteed rates have become notably more expensive throughout 2003. However, these premiums are now on a par with the cost of equivalent policies six to seven years ago and we believe that guaranteed rates will still be available throughout 2004.

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