Protection market update for January 2017, including; news, regulation & legislation, product development & innovation, consumer trends and experts corner.
Macro news and drivers
Aviva predicts GP report protection revolution
Protection sales in 2017 will get a boost from paperless insurance reporting technology for doctors, according to Aviva. Paul Brencher, managing director of individual protection at the insurer, said the digital tool - known as iGPR - is the most likely candidate for the smart deployment of technology in the sector.
Japanese insurer replaces staff with artificial intelligence
Human workers at Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance are set to be replaced by an artificial intelligence (AI) that can calculate pay-outs to policyholders, according to reports. Some 34 members of staff are likely to made redundant by March 2017 by the insurer, headquartered in Tokyo.
Paradigm protect launches five protection events
Paradigm Protect, the directly authorised protection proposition linked to Paradigm Mortgage Services and Paradigm Partners, will be holding five specialist protection events across the country in the first quarter of the year.
Regulation and legislation
APFA seeks to reduce suitability report needs
The Association of Professional Financial Advisers (Apfa) is in talks with the FCA and Fos in a bid to reduce suitability report requirements.
Product developments and innovation
Zurich launches adviser platform
Zurich has launched a protection platform enabling advisers to apply for multiple policies in one application. Called 'ZHub', the platform provides advisers with a personalised dashboard where they can keep track of their entire protection business with Zurich.
Best Insurance launches short-term protection policy
Income protection provider Best Insurance has launched a short-term accident, sickness and unemployment (ASU) policy. Called InstaProtect, the policy has no exclusion periods and simplified medical underwriting terms.
British friendly targets easier protection advice
British Friendly is working on more ways to make income protection advice easier for advisers this year. Iain Clark, distribution and marketing director at British Friendly, said the provider was building on its work in 2016 to grow the appeal of income protection among intermediaries and make it easier to advise on.
LV to invest in protection range
Life company LV has committed to investing more in its range of protection products and tools next year - but also called on the government to do more to highlight the sector.
F&TRC announces protection ratings
F&TRC has announced its product ratings for income protection, business protection and relevant life. The ratings are designed to help advisers understand which providers are offering the most suitable and comprehensive protection products and assist them with their client recommendations.
AIG signs up to protection distributors group's 'funeral payment pledge'
AIG Life has become the first insurer to meet the Protection Distributors Group's 'Funeral Payment Pledge'. As a minimum, the PDG asked for insurers to ensure families can pay funeral costs by committing to the pledge; proactively offering families at claim stage to pay the funeral director where no other arrangements have been made, up to £5,000.
Mum's the word when it comes to protection
According to Aegon the primary reason women say they don't have insurance is because they believe it's too expensive. According to the research, almost half (48%) said they couldn't afford it, an increase from 37% since 2014.
Canada Life predicts group IP will generate growth in 2017
Group income protection should remain the focus for sector growth in 2017 and beyond, according to Canada Life. Paul Avis, marketing director at the life company, said research it had carried out suggested as many as 74 per cent of employees believed state disability benefits would be harder to get or reduced in future.