On June 16, the research arm of Protection Review, known as The
Syndicate, launched its 2016 report looking at consumer and adviser
sentiment regarding protection and financial matters. The research
showed that there was very little appetite among consumers to
purchase protection products with 45% of those surveyed saying that
nothing could persuade them to buy protection and only 24% of
people saying that they were more likely than a year ago to review
their protection needs with a view to increasing the level of
The birth of a child was named as the most likely trigger for a
purchase of protection, closely followed by the purchase of a
house. The advisers included in the adviser research
suggested that a house purchase was the most important trigger for
buying protection with the arrival of children in second
There is no doubt that the point at which people are buying a
home is a key moment in their "protection journey", one where they
are open to thinking more generally about their financial situation
and possible needs, including protection. Are we doing all
that we can to ensure that the most is made of this opportunity to
speak to consumers and raise awareness of their protection and
their vulnerability should the worst happen?
The Syndicate research suggests that we have an uphill battle on
our hands with 44% of people saying that they were confident in
making decisions about protection without using professional
advice. 42% of people said that advice was not a necessary
part of the process with regards to purchasing protection. A
further 26% were unsure either way with only 32% agreeing that
advice was necessary.
The survey also showed high levels of uncertainty among
consumers with regard to what exactly advice is. 42% were
able to agree that it may be helpful in ensuring that the right
amount of cover was obtained but there seemed to be no real
endorsement of the value of advice or the role that it can play.
Conversely, the largest majority of advisers surveyed felt that the
most important aspect of their role lay in explaining clients'
financial vulnerability and helping them to prioritise their
So what does all of this mean for the protection industry and
the way that we reach consumers and those with protection
The opportunity that a mortgage application presents is
considerable and going forward we must ensure that protection is
included in any house buying conversation and must capitalise
on having an audience with people who are poised and ready to
consider their needs. But should we be doing more?
With the average age of first time buyers on the rise, we need
to find ways to have the conversation with people earlier and to
get them to consider their protection needs. After all
"generation rent" still have protection priorities but we may need
to reach out to them in new ways given that traditional channels
may feel irrelevant to them.
More than that, we need to be proud of the products that we're
selling and the value that these products add. The Seven
Families project has shown that what is valued about protection is
"more than the money" and yet the widespread obsession on price
continues on all sides. It is time to ensure that we
talk about the value of protection and not the just the
price. When people are poised to take on a huge
financial commitment via a mortgage, the importance of peace of
mind can surely not be underestimated.
Jo Miller, Head of Research, Protection