Protection Review 2015: 'Now is the time for the insurance industry'

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The protection industry must be ready for the demands made on it because of welfare changes Gary Shaughnessy, CEO UK Life at Zurich has warned.

With the industry paying £3.1bn to 99,000 UK families in a single year, he warned that coming welfare changes mean more people will be responsible for their own welfare provision.

He said: "The welfare state is retreating, the reality is what we are in is the middle of a massive transfer of responsibility and a themed and consistent transfer of responsibility from the state, and corporates in many cases, particularly when you're looking at pensions, onto the individual.

"That is an inevitability, it is a reality of an ageing population, and it is a reality of a changing dynamic in terms of the state's ability to afford the welfare underpin and the taxation advantages that have been given to UK citizens.

He added: "That change is happening and in many senses that is why the time is now for insurers, and the time is now for the insurance industry to be engaging with advisers, employers, insurance companies."

He said: "I would argue that it has never been more important that the insurance industry provides solutions to consumers facing that dilemma that they didn't ask for, in some cases they benefit from, but in many cases didn't ask for."

He added: "There is an opportunity to make a very objective clear cut financial case to the government for incentivising the benefits of income protection.

"To do that we need to interact with the welfare rules.

"What we can't have is a situation in a group environment or in the individual environment where an individual who protects themselves or a corporate that takes action to protect their employees and finds they're worse off because they lose welfare benefits.

"That's not the intent of the state, but it is the reality in a minority of cases under the current rules."

Further Reading:

Protection Review 2015: Value chain is ‘all wrong' in protection

Welfare and NHS changes in Queen's Speech

Analysis: The Conservative manifesto on health and welfare

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