The number of advisers selling protection is to be a growing concern during 2015, Zurich's head of retail propositions Peter Hamilton has said.
When asked about the themes and trends for 2015, Hamilton said: "The broader challenge how best do we get protection to the consumer? Will we have enough advisers available talking about protection?"
He said this was a worry as the number of advisers talking about protection had dropped this year.
Hamilton added: "The challenge will be two-fold. How to get customers interested in protection in the first place - advisers have been influential in doing that. If you have fewer advisers doing that, it's a challenge for the market. On the one hand we want to sustain a healthy adviser market place and we want advisers to sell as much protection as possible.
"We still think there will be plenty of people who will want to speak to a customer instead of buying policies directly. But if there's fewer advisers - if you overlay the drop in the number of advisers selling protection to the number of protection policies sold, you could argue that protection has been doing well. The separate question is how ready will advisers be to buy direct?
He continued "In 2-3 years' time the landscape will start to shift but I don't see it shifting overnight."
He also said one of the challenges will be for those wanting to talk about the new pension freedoms.
Hamilton said: "I wonder how many of those will focus more broadly on financial planning. Again it's a question of adviser capacity and demand. It will be a challenge for the holistic adviser. There will be an ongoing focus on making the process as easy as possible so advisers still want to advise on protection instead of solely focussing on the pension freedoms. We've got to continue highlighting the benefits of this market."
Hamilton concluded that pension reforms would also bring an "opportunity" for many advisers to discuss protection.
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