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Support growing for protection awareness day

The Protection Review has thrown its weight behind the campaign for an annual protection awareness day, although it says there could be practical problems with sending all the annual benefit statements out on the same day.

Former Ageas UK managing director Martin Werth is running a campaign in conjunction with Money Marketing aimed at creating an awareness day to draw people’s attention to the fact that they might be under-protected.

The idea is to send all customers with an existing protection policy a statement on the same day each year detailing what policies they have in place and directing them to an adviser to discuss any further protection needs.

It is hoped this would get people thinking and talking about their protection needs.

The Protection Review supports the idea but believes sending millions of statements out on the same day would prove logistically difficult.

PR chief executive Kevin Carr (pictured) believes it may be more feasible to send them out over a week or month. He says: “I think it is more realistic to send out these statements over a slightly longer period. It could be something that is done alphabetically where Ageas and Aviva go in week one and others follow them. But there would need to be some sort of central organisation and the ABI is the only body who could really manage this.”

The Association of British Insurers’ protection strategy committee says it is considering a protection awareness day and the issuing of annual benefit statements as ways of increasing take-up among customers.

Friends Life, Ageas Protect and Zurich Assurance have all confirmed they would consider issuing ABSs at the same time as other providers as part of a PAD, while PruProtect, Aviva and Bright Grey are supportive of the idea of an awareness day.

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Jones: ’Bit of a media splash’

LV= head of protection Mark Jones (pictured) says annual statements should not form part of a protection awareness day. He says the day should instead centre on a targeted media campaign.

Jones says: “I think we should aim for something that is more like an event, a bit of a media splash, something that grabs a bit of attention. Maybe this could include a signpost to somewhere people can get impartial advice.

“Social media has a part to play but there needs to be a slot on Sky or the BBC, something with a bit of imagination that will really get people thinking about protection.”

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Chadborn: ’Involve advisers’

Plan Money director Pete Chadborn agrees with the idea of co-ordinated annual benefit statements being sent out at the same time but would like advisers to be involved.

He says: “I think advisers should be involved in the process in the run-up to the day, where providers let us know they are about to contact customers. That way, advisers can plan for it and maybe do their own proactive marketing in preparation for the day. Providers could run some training workshops for advisers in the month before the awareness day, so they are clued up and ready to deal with enquiries.”

Werth says it is vital that all providers send out the statements at the same time.

He says: “The objective is to get people to realise the level of cover they have got and the only way to do that is to co-ordinate the annual benefit statements.

“I understand people calling for the statements to be sent out on a customer’s birthday but part of the awareness day would centre around a media campaign to hit consumers at the same time as they receive their statements, so this is the only way you could achieve that.”

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