What do advisers think of the Seven Families initiative and how could they potentially use information and material from it as part of their protection conversations with clients?
Michael Aldridge, London&Country:
"What we've been doing is sending the articles on Seven Families around the advisers as a promo tool for positive stories. You get eight or nine standard objections that clients will tend to say on the reasons why they don't want to take out protection - usually it is that the claims won't pay out. This offers a really good counterbalance to that argument.
You can say, yes insurers do pay out, here are the stats and this is the sort of impact policies can on someone's life and their lifestyle. You can send clients the link to the stories and it makes it a far more powerful message - highlighting the good things the industry can do. It can give some comfort to those clients who think protection policies don't pay out.
We'd been informing our advisers and keeping them abreast of the weekly feeds on Seven Families.
Advisers should always sell policies on its own merits and that appropriateness for that client - you're not purely going to say take out this policy based on this own article. Income protection isn't going to be appropriate for everyone, but I think Seven Families provides a good counterbalance and adds comfort to those unsure on the positive impact that something like income protection can have on a family.
Garry Webb, Roxburgh Financial Management
As a company we specialise in IP, most enquiries are from clients looking for that cover. Anything we can use that the clients can see in the press to raise their awareness is good news for us. We tend to have battles with people who ask for CIC as they get confused between CIC, IP and ASU policies.
We've seen two of the Seven Families and it's good for us to show clients how people benefit. The question is where these people have been selected from - but it does raise awareness. IP is one of those areas of financial planning that is missing and a lot of advisers still don't do it. It's about raising customer awareness but also to get advisers bought into doing that.
However, based on the first two families, I'm not sure if it's hit the way it should hit, so far. Daniel Pinder (one of the Seven Families) had health issues in the past, would he have been eligible for an IP policy?
IP covers most conditions and financially it can be as devastating for someone off work for 18 months to someone off work long-term.
People might read those articles and think IP only covers particular, long-term forms of illness or think those conditions are rare and ‘it won't happen to me.' I recently had a client who fell over and broke her arm and was off work - life just happens. That might be more applicable to people, or someone suffering from anxiety, stress, depression or a back condition.
Tom Connor, Drewberry Insurance
I think the Seven Families initiative is a noble effort to build a cause behind IP because of the personal insurances, it's the most important one, and it isn't being prioritised in the market.
It's good in the amount of coverage the Seven Families is generating as it could help steering advisers to think about IP. They might be arranging more CIC out of habit, than what should be arranged.
It also will help directly with consumers - although I think, they can prioritise how advisers prioritise IP and any impact on consumers will help as well.
Up until you asked me, I hadn't thought about how we would use it with customers. But thinking about it, one of the things we do is send newsletter emails to people during the process of arranging their policy or we haven't spoken to them yet, we're trying to educate people as much as possible. Being able to use articles when emailing a client gives a lot more credibility behind what you're saying.
I'm not sure how we would use any of the videos that have been created as you don't want to risk people feeling as though you're trying to play on their emotions.
It's much more effective to have a rational, logical conversation with people about the risks they face, the chance of it happening and what it would mean for them, without it going too far to the point it becomes an unpleasant conversation.
Emma Thomson, Lifesearch
The careful thing about Seven Families is for it not to be about directly plugging insurance. The initiative is not about plugging insurance to people and using Seven Families to do that - it needs to be done carefully.
That said, there's some great blogging and tweeting on there. There's stuff that can be done. If a customer is concerned we are over-exaggerating what could happen or the risks of relying solely on the state. The real stories that are told through Seven Families are really bringing it home to people. At Lifesearch, we've blogged about Seven Families to all of our advisers.
I spoke to our senior coach and said, are our advisers fully aware of Seven Families? Not just the concept, but the stories about the individual families and the latest status on the project.
We could be doing more to ensure our own people are fully briefed on it and they know what to do if a client has seen it in the press. We can discuss the stories and then link it into our own advice. I wouldn't want Seven Families to be directly plugging insurance, because that was the whole point of it having a subtle message. I think it's useful for advisers to link it in, wherever they feel it is suitable so customers can get that real life story and it's useful to have an independent charity like Disability Rights UK, to support it.
I think Seven Families is great and if it's carefully done, advisers should be using it positively and appropriately, otherwise the initiative is at risk of being tainted.
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On Thursday 12 March
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