At this year's Protection Review annual conference, Iain Anderson, director and chief corporate counsel of Cicero Consulting, warned the industry must be willing to build a market that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.
Anderson's focused on how mis-selling scandals have caused the public to turn away from the insurance industry and how the mistrust will cause a financial headache for future generations.
With 61% of adults saying they could not cope financially if they were unable to work as a result of sickness or disability, the burden on the Government could be financially crippling.
Anderson believes this represents an opportunity for the industry to make the case and become an essential part of the economy.
Anderson said: "This is not about privatising welfare, this is about providing a sustainable and socially good market for consumers. The industry has been guilty of mis-selling products, but fundamentally it is guilty of not educating the wider public.
"At some time in our lives, 40% of us will be forced to take time off work through ill-health, yet we believe the state will cushion our fall. We need to recognize that with the current perilous state of government finances the landing will be far from soft.
"This is an opportunity to engage with consumers and take insurance back to an age where we are trusted. If we do nothing the consequences are bound to be dire."
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