Last week I was bold/stupid enough to suggest that as an industry we can be too eager to dive into the technical nitty gritty and gloss over some of the simple but important bits – understanding the stuff people like and want, then delivering said stuff in a way that floats their boat (marketing anyone?). However, holding the ’technical’ name in vain is a surefire way to have one’s pocket money withheld – and this is precisely what Mr Wickenden senior has done until some redress for this profanity is made.
So it is my penance and my pleasure to spend a few weeks with you exploring opportunities for doing protection business in some of the more technically demanding markets such as:
● Inheritance tax related cover
● Business continuation
● Business succession
● The provision of employee cover through relevant life policies As a backdrop, there is an understandably strong current and continuing focus on acquiring and serving high-net-worth clients, with advisers more actively supporting those who are prepared and able to pay for on-going service. Commitment to a higher level of servicing to a smaller group of clients should put the spotlight on some of these more niche (and under-utilised) solutions.
My particular focus will be on what advisers are doing currently, what action plans they have and what they see as the challenges and opportunities in these markets. But I will also be finding out what is needed in the form of support, inspiration, training, documentation, literature and tools to really crack this market. So a quick taster menu for the coming weeks:
● Hot buttons: Price remains a significant driver of selection for IHT related cover, keyperson and business succession. But underwriting, flexibility of cover, service/support and financial strength are playing an increasingly important role on product and provider selection.
● Taxing times: Protection as an IHT solution has been overlooked to date but the possible continuing investor/client requirements to retain full access to investments could continue to drive up the attraction of a refreshingly simple alternative.
● Down to business: The business insurance market remains vastly underpenetrated. If the reason why can be better established and articulated, there could be a strong opportunity to increase business.
Increasingly relevant: The tax attraction for employers and relative newness of the relevant life policies could offer an excellent opportunity to enter and build on the employer/employee cover market.
Right, I’m off to spend my pocket money!
Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s The Plan