The summer season - or, in newspaper terms, the silly season - brings to mind a relaxed ambience...
The summer season - or, in newspaper terms, the silly season - brings to mind a relaxed ambience, copious amounts of Pimms and long summer evenings. However, the protection market is still going full throttle with the publication of the Protection Review and several high-profile launches.
COVER has had a sneak preview and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Protection Review shows there is no real improvement in closing the huge protection gap. So what is to be done?
One positive step looks set to be taken by Prudential. COVER has learned it plans to introduce the vitality points it currently employs on its health business into the protection arena, which could revolutionise the way protection is sold. The market responded positively to the idea when it was conceived last year and there appears to be a genuine sense that this feeling will be matched when Prudential launches it into the protection arena.
However, the question that is troubling me is why are other providers not following suit? Prudential has led the way and other providers have just sat back and watched. Is it too much effort to bother and is it easier to just make tweaks? Perhaps it requires an ego-battering that providers are too proud to contemplate - an admission that the competition's product is genuinely what this market needs.
Quite how the protection gap is meant to be reduced when the industry is not doing absolutely everything in its power to close it is something of a mystery. It is no good passing the responsibility on to advisers, nor is it constructive for advisers to shift the blame on to the providers. Every segment of the industry has a part to play in this. I am loath to admit that I agree with a spin doctor who remarked to the audience at a recent conference: "When all is said and done, more is said than done."
It is time this market appeared united to the consumer. For, with such a divided front, there can be no consumer confidence. It is high time we all woke up and smelled the coffee.
Lucy Quinton, senior reporter
PS. Johanna Gornitzki is away on holiday.
The news that the ABI and British Medical Association (BMA) agreement on GP report (GPR) fees has broken down will usher in a period of uncertainty.
Lack of innovation investment in the UK insurance market has been highlighted by recognition of RGA's work in the US.
Protection business in 2012 and 2013 will be affected by events this year and some fundamental changes to the way customers policies are priced into the next. Richard Verdin explains.
Employee assistance programmes are in the spotlight due to a schizophrenic approach by government. But as Sue Weir points out, they are backed by solid research.
How will people buy insurance in future? Greg Becker visits the US for developments in online distribution.