Experts say innovation is key in pleasing highly critical protection market
LifeSearch's product launch with an unnamed provider is only weeks away, it was revealed at this month's Think Tank.
Debating the future of income protection (IP), Tom Baigrie, managing director at LifeSearch, unveiled that one provider is "almost certain to launch a new form of IP in Q2 this year".
While refusing to reveal which provider he was referring to, Baigrie admitted LifeSearch had been working with the insurer for a long time to ensure the product would be right.
Talking about what the product may look like, he said: "There is a desperate need for a product that is built with two fundamental purposes in mind. The first is a 'no excuses IP' so that no one in the game has to make excuses: not the consumer, the seller or the provider.
"The second is that you cannot realistically sell a product on the scale we need to sell IP unless it is extremely simple to buy. The new design has to keep it simple."
He added that he thought an eight year payout period would be sound instead of having a policy paying out until retirement and that some form of lump sum payment could be a solution.
Also participating in the debate, Peter Le Beau, managing director of Le Beau Visage, agreed one or two providers were rumoured to soon launch a new product. "There is a lot more energy in the industry and more new products are being launched than ever before."
Talking about the forthcoming launch, Baigrie condemned the protection industry for always trying to find ways to criticise new products.
"We have a very real expectation that almost every aspect of the product we eventually launch will be looked at with an evil eye.
"The question of building a product that is easy to sell but is not the complete solution is one other industries find easy. New ideas are often criticised. People say if it's not perfect, it's rubbish. And that is something that we are all very scared of," he said.
Alison Turner-Holmes, head of marketing, UK new business, at Scottish Provident, said product innovation is key for any insurer wishing to remain competitive in the IP market. "Any provider that does not continually improve or better promote or educate this year and next will be negligent, both to the end consumer and to the broker," she said.
- For full coverage of the debate please see the Think Tank supplement included in this month's issue.
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