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The way ahead for protection

It is safe to say that going into 2009 the £2.3tn protection gap will still very much be there.

However, that is not to say the market has sat back this year as there has been plenty of innovation in the protection industry.

In June we saw LV= launch its mortgage and lifestyle protection plan. The product incorporates a number elements “usually missing from mainstream products”, Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey said at the time.

Next up we saw Lifesearch team up with Fortis Life UK. In July the duo launched its protection plan, Real Life Cover, and its menu-style protection product, Your Life Plan.
RLC combines seven different types of cover including life and income protection with the option of unemployment cover.

YLP offers up the choice of term assurance, family income benefit, critical illness cover and income protection.
More recently we saw Pru Protect recently announced that policyholders who look after their health by engaging with its Vitality programme will be able to reduce their premiums and lock them in.

CBK Colchester principle Peter Chadborn praised the firm for having the biggest impact on protection this year. He says: “Having launched last year, they have been establishing themselves successfully throughout 2008 and I believe the Vitality concept is such a big differentiator in terms of the competition.”

Much work has also be done around campaigning for protection. In September, Lifesearch managing director Tom Baigrie called on the insurance industry to unite and fund a hard-hitting advertising campaign highlighting the importance of income protection.

And so far, Bupa Individual Protection have offered to support the campaign financially, while Fortis, Royal Liver, Norwich Union and other life offices have also backed the idea.

Education has also been at the forefront of the provider/adviser mindset.

The likes of Legal & General, Aegon and Friends Provident have all provided information packs, workshops and online seminars to those interested in bolstering their protection business books, with Aegon being the most recent.

However, aside from industry efforts to drive protection forward, the much talked-about protection gap is still there.

So I invite all Money Marketing readers to email with suggestions on how we go about closing this gap.


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