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One to One: Mike Allison, head of protection, Paradigm

One2one_Mike-Allison

Why protection providers need to make application processes simpler, embrace technology more quickly and agree with the regulator as far as possible

How can the broker community boost protection sales?
In the main, advisers do a great job in offering services for their clients. But there is a limit to what they can physically do in a day. Many of our firms tell me they want to write more protection but they do not have the time to look at each individual need in so much depth.

In that regard, they could be helped by providers making the process of applying simpler. Some have done this already by producing short applications, offering tele-underwriting, etcetera. But in reality, with medical science advances, I believe most people will live until they are 65-plus and therefore taking out life cover or income protection up to age 40 should be easier than it is at present, with considerably fewer hurdles to overcome.

Access to pharmaceutical records instead of doctors’ reports would tell most underwriters what they needed to know, and wearable technology will, in the future, help to predict serious illness or death better than a physician. The industry should embrace these changes more quickly to make life easier for advisers, which would boost sales and effectively get lives covered – the best customer outcome of all.

Which products/product features should providers offer more of?
In the main, providers offer a comprehensive range of cover. While features in critical illness policies have changed over many years, all the core conditions have generally been covered – something borne out by claims statistics. To me it is about making processes easier, embracing technology and agreeing with the regulator as far as possible.

The ‘Man from the Pru’ used to sell death policies to cover funeral expenses. But costs eventually prohibited that and the fear is that many families do not go looking for products to cover their basic needs any more, thus putting the onus back on the state. There must be a simpler way to balance it up and provide a true ‘win-win’ for client, state and providers alike.

What plans does Paradigm have for members on the protection front this year?
Paradigm Protect has gone from strength to strength since launch, principally due to offering a comprehensive range of not only products but also supporting marketing material, in order to help firms better understand what products and services may best fit client needs and help to deliver positive customer outcomes. Whether it be through face-to-face events, newsletters or general updates, Paradigm Protect firms benefit from this wealth of support.

In 2016 we will expand our product range into group life, offering exclusive elements to help new firms into the market (perhaps those involved in auto-enrolment) or to further support established firms by using technology to drive efficiency or offering enhancements in products available to us due to our positive working relationships with providers.

What is the best advice you have received?
‘Integrity is like virginity – you only lose it once.’

Who is your all-time hero and why?
Anyone who has pushed back boundaries in their field or stood up for something that was right when it caused them significant personal risk or cost them their freedom, or even their life. Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King are the obvious examples but there are many unsung heroes. We can take a lot from this type of people.

As a child, what was your dream job?
I don’t think it was head of protection at Paradigm Group. But I am glad to be here nonetheless.

Do you have any secret talents?
Yes, but none that I would commit to print.

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