In response to the article in the June 10 issue of Money Marketing, the situation research carried out for the Which? report, The Protection Question was modelled, implemented and analysed according to our normal rigid research criteria.
The purpose of the research was to establish what advice mortgage advisers based in high-street lenders and estate agents gave to first-time buyers concerning protection insur-ance and to measure this advice against established industry best practice. As always with situation research projects that we carry out, the research was designed to reflect real people's experiences given a certain scenario. In the scen-ario we designed, best advice would have been income prot-ection, provided the right amount of cover could be offered within the customer's budget (which one adviser did offer).
Mortgage payment protection would have been the next best option if income protection was not practical or affordable. Life cover was not required given the fact that the customer had no dependents and was covered by his/her employer for £50,000.
Critical-illness cover should only have been offered in addition to a suitable income protection or (as second choice) mortgage payment protection insurance and only if this did not overstretch the customer's budget. Finally, we looked at how well each adviser explained the reasons for the recommendation and the details of the products.
The results of the research speak for themselves. We disa-gree with Lifesearch's accus-ation that the research was “simplistic”. It was modelled to test a given scenario and the results carefully analysed.As with the majority of Which? reports, an early draft giving our interpretation of best advice was sent to regulators, industry trade bodies and IFAs, none of whom disagreed with the benchmarks applied.
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