More insurance on pets than income

ED STUART-BROWN, HEAD OF PROTECTION SALES, FRIENDS PROVIDENT
ED STUART-BROWN, HEAD OF PROTECTION SALES, FRIENDS PROVIDENT

We’re renowned as a nation of pet lovers and the pet insurance industry is booming.

It’s estimated that there are twice as many health insurance policies on pets than on people. Why is it that people are willing to pay for pet insurance but not income protection?

I think the answer is that it is easier to see the need for pet insurance. They can more readily relate to a situation where their pet has to go to the vet and they know how big bills can get. They want to ensure that if their pet falls ill they can take care of it financially.

There isn’t a sales force of financial advisers selling these products. People can clearly see the need and will purchase cover without having to be sold to.

So why can’t people see the need for IP? Why aren’t they protecting the one thing that underpins everything in their lifestyle and their income?

The answer is people don’t like to face up to the reality of something bad happening to them and simply avoid the subject.

It’s easier to face the reality of your pet becoming ill than it is to think it may happen to you.

There is a role for advisers to educate customers on the need for IP and make them face up to the harsh facts of illness. If individuals understood that their lifestyle is reliant on one thing, their ability to earn an income, they would be more likely to protect it.

I suspect that in the event of a breadwinner being unable to earn for a prolonged period the family pet may become a financial burden and the pet policy might be the first thing to go.