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Insurance Review: Cover all the bases – and then some

Dennison-Mark

If 2017 follows a similar path to last year, IP sales will keep increasing and there is likely to be a lot more innovation

The protection sector had a strong year in 2016. In May, we learned that new income protection sales had grown by 10.7 per cent in 12 months, according to Swiss Re’s Term & Health Watch report. And this trend may have continued.

Gen Re’s November Protection Pulse report found that total premiums were up by 5 per cent in 2016 compared to the first half of 2015, with IP sales up by more than 18 per cent. IP is probably the most important product a person can buy alongside a mortgage, so such figures are good news.

Also positive is the innovation we saw across a range of products, such as AIG Life’s Key3, a simple CI product paying a lump sum upon diagnosis of one of three key conditions: cancer, heart attack or stroke. Key3 comes with access to Best Doctors, which can be used by the insured person for up to three years after payout, plus access to AIG Life’s Claims Support Fund.

Meanwhile, having rebranded in May, British Friendly announced in September its new Care Assistance Benefit for both new and existing members. British Friendly offers IP only but this product, which comes attached to an IP policy for free, means it will pay a flat amount of £125 a week in Care Assistance Benefit when the partner or child of a member needs full-time care of 35 hours or more a week for a continuous period of four weeks.

If 2017 follows a similar path, we are likely to see a lot more innovation. We already have the promise of an interesting new product from Royal London in Q1, which will be life insurance tailored for people with diabetes.

It would be a brave person to make definitive predictions for 2017 but the trend for the protection world seems positive.

Mark Dennison is principal at LightBlue UK

Sales tip: F&TRC publishes product ratings for 2016

F&TRC has announced its 2016 product ratings for income protection, business protection and relevant life to help advisers understand which providers offer the most suitable and comprehensive products. The ratings are as follows:

Income protection

Gold medal: Aviva, The Exeter (Income One Plus), Legal & General, LV=, LV= (Personal Sick Pay), VitalityLife (Comprehensive)

Silver medal: The Exeter (Pure Protect), Royal London, Vitality Life (Primary)

Bronze medal: Aegon, AIG, Zurich

Business protection

Gold medal: AIG, Royal London, Zurich

Silver medal: L&G, LV=, Vitality Life

Bronze medal: Aegon, Aviva

Relevant life

Gold medal: AIG, L&G, Royal London, VitalityLife, Zurich

Silver medal: Aviva, LV=

Bronze medal: Aegon

News in brief

Zhub is all-in-one
Zurich has a new protection platform for advisers. ZHUB enables advisers to apply for up to five policies under one application without the need to re-key customer information. It offers a personalised dashboard where advisers can keep track of their entire protection business with Zurich.

First stats for 2016
British Friendly is the first insurer to publish its claims statistics for 2016. It paid 96.13 per cent of all IP claims, with over half (52 per cent) of all claims authorised in one day or less. The top three reasons for claiming in 2016 were orthopaedics/musculoskeletal conditions (39 per cent of paid claims), viral illness/respiratory (22 per cent of paid claims) and psychiatric conditions (13 per cent of paid claims).

Square/RL deal
Square Health has agreed a deal with Royal London to provide doctor and nurse screening services for the insurer. Square Health is part of the Doctors Chambers group of companies and offers a range of health screening services to insurers, including a virtual GP, health MOTs and psychiatric, osteopathy and chiropractic services.

Online trust service
Royal London has launched an online service designed to enable advisers to place new and existing business in trust. The service hosts a range of the most popular forms advisers would require when placing a life policy in trust, including a relevant life trust and a business trust. Royal London plans to add more trust forms in the future.

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