A deep dive into the most pressing priorities facing the protection industry today
The priority for Scottish Widows has always been on doing the right thing for customers and ensuring advisers can be confident in recommending Scottish Widows to their clients.
As a champion for protection, you'll be well aware of the challenges we face as an industry to demonstrate how protection underpins financial planning, delivering financial resilience at the point when it's needed most.
From a provider's point of view, we should be doing everything we can to make the journey for you and your clients as simple and efficient as possible, while not compromising on the quality of protection provided.
A look ahead
Throughout 2019 we'll be refining our offering and focusing on the things that matter.
Customers' needs are changing more radically and quicker than ever before and we, as an industry, have to respond in the same vein.
People are living longer and retiring later, meaning more people may be living with critical illnesses throughout their working years. The rise of the ‘sandwich generation' means that increasing numbers of people have additional responsibilities, caring for children and parents.
Conversely, many families are now geographically distant, so from a practical point of view - emotional support , childcare, help with transport for example - the support that may have been on hand in previous generations, isn't as readily available.
We also know that households are increasingly reliant on two incomes, and therefore more susceptible to the financial challenges faced should one of those incomes be lost.
All these factors make that all important protection discussion more crucial than ever. So what are we doing to help you with this?
- We're growing our team to make sure you and your clients receive the best possible service, with six new regional protection managers having recently joined us.
- We've transformed your Adviser Dashboard, making it easier for you to manage more of your new business pipeline online. We've further enhancements coming later in the year, giving you more time to concentrate on building your business and helping your clients.
- We've created new electronic versions of key documents, saving you time and making the application process easier.
- We're constantly reviewing our proposition and looking at how we can embed simplicity in both the product we offer, and the language we use to communicate it. We've a number of pilots taking place at the moment to explore these opportunities, and we'll make sure you're the first to hear the outcomes of these.
- Our charity partnerships give us valuable insight into the challenges faced by our customers and the real ways we can address these:
1. Our formal partnership with Macmillan has been in place since last year, and with the majority of people living with cancer on average £570* a month worse off due to their diagnosis, the importance of signposting cancer claimants to the Macmillan Financial Guidance Team can't be underestimated. This support is offered in addition to the practical advice and emotional support we offer in collaboration with RedArc as part of Scottish Widows Care.
2. Our work with Mental Health UK has improved our ability to provide cover to the one in four people** living with mental health conditions every year. In fact our acceptance rates show we now offer terms to 95%***of people who tell us about a mental health condition, 78%*** on standard rates. This, and the other work we're focusing on to improve accessibility to insurance for all is something I'm incredibly proud of.
- The most tangible measure of our customer ethos is our claims journey. This is where we have to be at our very best at the most difficult times in our customers' lives. Our claims journey is continually being enhanced, allowing payments to be made more quickly to customers.
1. We complete claims forms over the phone on the day of claim, removing any pressure from the customer to manually complete it, and means we can start acting on the claim straightaway.
2. We're giving claimants the opportunity to use technology to speed up the claims process and manage their claim. This includes the use of smartphones to send photos of medical information, being updated on the progress of a claim via text message, and using E-signatures to allow claims to be made more quickly, reducing the time taken by up to two weeks.
3. Each claimant receives an individual case manager, meaning it's the same person who deals with their claim from start to finish.
- We're supporting your CPD requirements under IDD. With three modules already available, we'll be adding to this suite throughout the year. We'll also be running a couple of Webinars to further build your knowledge on particular topics as well as adding to our library of blogs and articles on www.scottishwidowsprotect.co.uk
As a five star and Defaqto Gold service provider with a corporate commitment to Helping Britain Prosper, we are dedicated to doing everything we can to protect as many people as possible.
We believe that a customer-centred protection proposition can reduce uncertainty and stress, increasing financial resilience while providing excellent service and support at the most difficult of times.
A strong partnership between advisers and providers is critical to delivering that proposition and this is something we'll continue to strive for throughout 2019.
Gary Burchett is the protection director of Scottish Widows
* Macmillan Cancer Support: Cancer's Hidden Price Tag Report 2013
*** Scottish Widows Underwriting Data 2018
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