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CI waters muddied by obscure illnesses

ROGER EDWARDS, PROPOSITION DIRECTOR, BRIGHT GREY AND SCOTTISH PROVIDENT
ROGER EDWARDS, PROPOSITION DIRECTOR, BRIGHT GREY AND SCOTTISH PROVIDENT

Competing for customers in a recessionary environment has seen some businesses going to extreme measures.

From restaurants advertising meals for 99p to hotels offering rooms for £1, businesses are doing all they can to attract customers.

No business wants to be left behind in a competitive market and it’s no different in the protection industry. Take the list of critical illness definitions.

To stay ahead of the competition the race is on for protection providers to list as many conditions as possible, even though it’s generally accepted that the majority of policyholders claim for three illnesses – heart attack, cancer and stroke.

Despite this, providers continue to list illnesses that most people won’t have even heard of when they think of a critical illness. So do these conditions add value or create further confusion for consumers?

In an industry already bogged down with medical jargon, listing obscure illnesses will only make the product more confusing for customers and leave advisers with more to explain. When talking to clients about protection, advisers need to feel confident about the product they’re recommending.

Should providers be expecting advisers who aren’t medically trained to explain the relevance of the additional illnesses?

While competition is considered good for consumers, providers need to strike a balance between serving their needs and offering a proposition that advisers, especially those new to protection, can feel confident to recommend.

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