With white papers due this year on long-term care (Dilnot Review), sickness absence and also the Treasury's work on simple products, how much explicit help (not just macro changes to benefits and the NHS) would you want the government to give the industry?
Peter Le Beau, Protection Review
I think it is naive of the industry to expect explicit help from the government. Every industry lobbies ferociously on its own behalf and thinks it has a special case which the government needs to consider. In reality, if the government, (especially one under the economic pressure like this one is), is going to offer concessions in the way of tax relief or explicit financial engineering there has to be a very strong case for doing so.
Has the fragmented, largely passionless protection industry set out such a case consistently for several years, or have we potentially (in the widest definition of the protection market) caused them enormous anxiety with the PPI debacle?
And there is potentially more angst with those upset by the value of over 50s plans or their increase in unit-linked whole of life premiums.
The Sickness Absence Review shows that while there is an appreciation of what it can do, government sees no pressing need to forge an unbreakable alliance with the protection industry.
The best we can expect is a government that understands the economic value of protection insurance (and we may need to go beyond the calculation of the Protection Gap to establish this) and one that is ready to enter into informed dialogue (and encourage its new regulator to do so) on some of the key issues that we might just have answers for.
Beyond this, I’m not optimistic that in a time when everyone is craving the attention of government, they see us as enough of a priority to spend much time on. I wonder whose fault that is?
Roger Edwards, Bright Grey
It is not the government’s job to ‘help’ any company decide what products and benefits it should develop, though it should ensure that things are fair and there is no customer detriment.
The problem is that in financial services we have a history of not always doing that and therefore the government feels it needs to intervene. The reality is that the government are not experts – product providers should be.
The simple products work is interesting – I attended a seminar where a government minister said the initiative was because there were too many products available making choice difficult. Is the solution to add more?
After three decades
Completes legal process
Premises to remain closed until at least mid-February
Set up by David Cameron in 2012
Despite ‘overwhelmingly positive’ report