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This week in Protection

Last week saw one of the highlights of the protection industry’s calendar, both professionally and also socially, if the aftermath at London nightclub Tiger Tiger was anything to go by.

The great and the good of the health and protection insurance industries gathered at Café Royale on London’s Piccadilly to celebrate the launch of the 2006 Protection Review, co-edited by industry gurus Peter Le Beau and Andy Couchman.

Key findings of the 240-off page tome included the primary barriers to protection sales, sales figures year on year showing that private medical insurance was the only growing area within health and protection in the UK last year.

It identified some expectations of the industry, including that income protection sales would fall although Le Beau was quick to point out he hoped to avoid this through his work on the income protection working party he heads up.

The review looked at the lack of innovation in the market, and claimed that PMI was the only area that had demonstrated true progress, not hampered by the archaic and onerous application forms and old-school policy definitions of life, critical illness and IP policies.

One man celebrating rather more so than his counterparts – and for good reason was Scottish Widows protection marketing manager Nick Kirwan.

Kirwan was awarded the accolade of industry personality of the year, following in the footsteps of 2004 and 2005’s winners the late IFA Chris Perrott and Lifesearch managing director Tom Baigrie. Kirwan was praised for the key role he has taken in promoting protection through his work at the ABI as head of the CI working party recently relaunched as the protection working party. His approachability, knowledge and helpfulness as a key figure influencing the industry to do a better job were also celebrated.

The atmosphere at the review dinner itself reaffirmed the shared passion and dedication of the industry to address the concerns of the protection sector.
Providers, advisers, reinsurers, research and technical teams alike are pulling out all the stops to improve the state of the protection market in this country. All are trying to make headway towards closing the much talked about protection gap, recently highlighted further by Co-opereative Insurance Services.

CIS recently revealed that 47 per cent of the UK adult population lack any form of protection cover. The insurance company says it would like to see more people taking responsibility for their insurance needs rather than gambling with their financial future.

Judging by the reaction at Café Royale last Tuesday night, CIS is hardly alone in its wishes.

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