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What advisers are saying- the challenges of business protection

The business insurance market is vastly under-penetrated. That much is clear. What is far less certain is why and what can be done to better serve this important market.

I always caution clients to be wary of white picket fence research that presents suspiciously neat and tidy solutions…if it looks overly manicured, it might be. Our work with advisers in this area better resembles a chaotic country estate, so diverse and fragmented are views on what may be
holding back business and what is required to drive it forward. The one thing we can say unequivocally is that one size fits no one – socks, hats or business succession.

So first, the bits that we know for sure – both business succession and business continuation levels remain incredibly low, with all but national advisory businesses. Yet these are both areas that advisers consistently tell us they are keen to grow. It’s all a bit “yeah but, no but”, in Pollard-parlance. So what is holding advisers back?

For starters, very few review business assurance more than once a year with their clients, suggesting that a greater degree of proactivity may pay dividends. Those that engage more frequently have experienced greater success. No surprises there. Second, there is a keenly felt need for greater certainty and simplicity in relation to tax and legal issues… discomfort breeds disengagement. Third, there is an appreciation that height-ened client awareness of the consequences of inaction will have a positive impact.

Our conversations, though, strongly indicate the challenges advisers face vary significantly by firm type. Shock horror, everyone’s a bit different and such lumpy, clumpy, homogenous strategies won’t cut the mustard. There are few quick wins.

This is a serious market that demands serious commitment from providers and advisers.

For advisers, setting up a yearly business cover audit will establish (in a professional way) a formal means of ensuring that business cover is kept on the agenda, providing a strong reason to regularly liaise with professionals. For providers, those who can really show how to take a significant proportion of the “time cost” out of the equation will have a strong differentiating position.

Greater public awareness, better professional connections and more streamlined provider administration will no doubt help, but for both providers and advisers alike, doing it persistently, consistently and with a high degree of flexibility is the only way (contrary to what Essex thinks).

Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s The Plan

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