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The Mortgage Protection Domination Campaign

Nearly 20 years ago, I stood up at a conference and launched the "Mortgage Protection Domination Campaign".

After the speech, I was pleased with the feedback from the audience.

"I thought it was going to be a product push," said one of the advisers who stayed behind to chat. "But all you did was give us ideas for how to increase mortgage protection sales. I feel motivated to go and talk about protection to my mortgage clients."

The company I worked for was quite new to protection having launched the first "menu" based product a few years earlier. And they were delighted with the explosion of sales resulting from the campaign.

Back then most protection sales were mortgage related. But advisers still had to work hard to convince their clients to spend the extra money on a life insurance policy, or even more on one with critical illness cover. Typical client objection included the belief, "it won't happen to me". Or the State would provide. Or family would help bail them out of financial difficulty. Some thought that protection was too expensive and others felt insurance companies would try hard to avoid paying claims.

The "Domination Campaign" helped advisers tackle those objections using stories and real life case studies. It wasn't a product push. It gave advisers ideas and tools to help people understand the need for mortgage protection.

Now two decades later if you surveyed the public about why they don't consider buying protection insurance, whether it's to cover a mortgage or not, it's likely you'd end up with the exact same list of objections. We still hear "it won't happen to me", "it's too expensive", and "companies won't pay".

The old campaign happened before the internet took off. We travelled the UK talking to advisers in hotel conference rooms, using 35mm slides, and handing out piles of A4 "sales aids" with all the ideas printed on them. It took a long time to deliver the message to the market. I spent over a month on the road. But investing the time paid off because sales of mortgage protection increased.

Advisers still must work hard to overcome these objections, and as the mortgage application process post MMR is longer, more detailed and rigorous, they have less time to discuss protection issues.

Thanks to digital technology, today we can deliver such messages much quicker by video, social media or webinar. But in 2017 time is an issue for everyone. It's not just about helping with ideas, it's about helping advisers find the time to talk about them.

iPipeline's recent protection widget, "Life Genie", is an interesting use of technology that uses the information advisers collect during the mortgage fact find to "prompt" the need for protection later in the interview.

The change to mortgage demographics since the campaign is people are older when they take out mortgages, and younger people are renting accommodation for longer, the so called "generation rent". They have similar protection needs to mortgagees but as an industry we do tend to ignore them, even though their reasons for not buying are likely to be the same.

Digital technology means every protection provider and adviser can put together stories and ideas, on video, audio or the written word and get those messages out to targeted groups of clients quicker than ever before. Although the mortgage application process is longer, communications efficiencies can help reclaim some of the lost time.

It might mean we must talk to potential clients on Twitter or Facebook messenger, because that's where they hang out. But communication can be swift and successful if planned and executed well.

The tactics of delivering messages changes with technology. But often the messages themselves remain unchanged. The main barriers to people taking out protection are the same as they were 20 years ago. In 20 more years, they'll still be the same messages with yet another delivery mechanism. Beaming messages directly into our client's brains perhaps?

The good news for advisers is today's delivery mechanism for the messages our clients need to hear is fast. Just like in the long gone "Domination Campaign" product providers need to help advisers overcome the barriers preventing clients buying protection, but also help them speed up what has become a long drawn out process.

The theme of overcoming client objections, and indeed client perceptions of the protection industry is a theme that's come up at the last couple of Protection Review Summits. These events in London are free for advisers to attend and we'll be running a debate about mortgage protection and generation rent soon. We'd welcome your thoughts and feedback on this article. If you have story to tell related to this issue we'd like to talk to you about speaking at a future Protection Review Summit.

Please get in touch at roger@rogeredwards.co.uk

Roger Edwards, Marketing Director at Protection Review

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