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The Real thing

Real Life Cover – a new name and a new product devised by the people at Lifesearch and delivered by Fortis, the latest provider to join our super-competitive, currently stagnating market.

People are already calling it RLC, even the inventors, which somewhat reduces the invited reaction of the full name…”what do you mean, real life cover” to a rather less interesting “what is RLC?”

Within a day or so of the launch, I attended an industry get-together, where apparently a few “sniffy comments” were heard, some about the concept having been kicked around the industry for a number of years and others about “it” not being “quite right” which I think rather misses the point.

Real Life Cover, like Scot-Prov’s Self Assurance and Pru Protect’s serious illness cover, is innovative (definition: new and unique) and because of the reputational and money risks involved in developing a really new product, you have to recognise the bravery and commitment of those involved, whether you like the product or not.

I say this because I believe that bravery and commitment are going to be needed in spades if we are going to develop the kind of solutions that are needed to make our products and services more relevant to, and trusted by, customers. It has always amazed me that for an industry that deals almost exclusively with risk, there are so few risk-takers working within it.

This column is not the right place to analyse the detail of what is and what is not available within the plan. However, I will say this I quite like Real Life Cover. I can see it developing as a kind of entry-level product for some customers, a product that could introduce some to the idea of the benefits that protection insurance can bring.

I don’t think it is niche either. I think it will eventually have mass-market appeal and I can also see it being used in the direct offer/non-advised market, which takes a bit of getting used to, given the pedigree of those behind the idea.

Nonetheless, the product is “packaged” and the “gold standard” for packages has still to be one that matches the benefits to a customer’s exact demands, needs, priorities and budget, which, of course, most multi-benefit menu plans do, including the new Your Life Plan (YLP), also launched by Fortis.

You may not have heard of YLP yet but that is probably because it is only being rolled out to a few advisers as Fortis look to start small so that they can control their customer experience.

If Real Life Cover is not for you, don’t worry. If you are an adviser, you do not have to sell it (and most of you can’t) and if you are a competitor, then I suggest that you focus on the positives and perhaps even use this launch as the catalyst for your very own developments.

If it is just the name that concerns you, then don’t worry about that, worry about this instead. What are occasional tables when they are not being tables? After all, what’s in a name?

Richard Verdin is sales & marketing director of Direct Life & Pensions


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