Advisers examined protection sales following investment market crash
Nearly one in five advisers started focusing on protection sales at the end of last year when the credit crunch began to bite.
Speaking exclusively to COVER, Peter Le Beau, managing director of Le Beau Visage, said research conducted as part of the forthcoming review showed 18% of advisers had looked more at the protection market due to the issues around Northern Rock and the volatility of investment markets.
The survey said: "Already, one in five intermediaries had recognised the issue, and was in the process of doing something about it. Are these the industry's early adopters? There is unlikely to be a direct correlation but this is potentially an important figure."
Le Beau also revealed the Protection Review was producing two new pieces of research including a survey of advisers conducted in association with The Personal Finance Society.
Other results showed only a tiny minority of advisers, despite the slowing economy, thought they would be writing less protection in the coming year with 53% saying the amount would remain the same, and 43% thinking it would increase.
The survey will also show adviser thoughts on new product key elements. The survey asked what was more important: innovation in coverage, price, processing times, underwriting, commission rates or communication with advisers.
The two key elements, Le Beau revealed, were price and innovation in coverage, with commission coming last. An award looking at innovation in the protection industry will be introduced at this year's review with Le Beau saying the winner may come as a surprise to some people.
In other news, industry conjecture is predicting Fortis is to launch into the protection market within three-to-four weeks.
Martin Werth, managing director of Fortis Life UK, denied the company was ready to launch despite industry rumours of the long-awaited release gaining momentum in the latter half of last month.
He said: "We've not completed the sign-off process. There's speculation but there's nothing we can say at the moment."
Leading insurance broker LifeSearch is rumoured to be closely aligned with the Fortis launch but refused to comment on the move.
However, Matt Morris, policy adviser at the firm, said: "It is good when people come into the industry and launch exciting products."
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Lack of innovation investment in the UK insurance market has been highlighted by recognition of RGA's work in the US.
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