Within our industry, there's a familiar saying that ‘protection isn't bought, it's sold'. And it's easy to understand why this rings true. After all, when people take out a protection policy, often they're asked to pay for a product they won't need to use for at least a while - or may never use at all.
And with some types of protection - particularly life cover - the policy isn't even designed to benefit the person covered (and probably paying for it) - it's there to provide a financial safety-net for their family in the event the worst should happen to them.
Getting someone to see the value in a product they may never use is a common hurdle advisers face when discussing protection and recommending policies that could help to build a client's financial resilience.
In recent years providers started to offer their customers access to health and wellbeing services they can use immediately, making protection more appealing and helping differentiate themselves from their competitors.
But when we think of what protection is actually for - to help protect customers' lifestyles and make them more financially resilient - it makes sense that policies evolve to offer protection against the effects of ill-health, without the need for the worst to happen first.
One of the ways Royal London has looked to offer more tangible benefits for customers, is to expand our existing Helping Hand support to include online early care medical services for new customers. And the range of early care services available to plan owners have been hand-picked based on the issues that are most likely to affect them - so there is online access to a 24/7 virtual GP, support for mental health issues and musculoskeletal problems. In addition, we've also added services we hope will help customers reduce their risk of ill health as a result of the lifestyle choices they make by, for example, making small changes to their diet or taking more exercise.
However, just giving our customers easy access to relevant services isn't enough. Most people, myself included, need some motivation and guidance on how to start making positive changes to their lifestyle. That's why we've chosen to partner with LiveSmart - a health and wellbeing specialist. Once our customers register and answer a brief digital health questionnaire, they'll receive LifeSmart's personalised digital health report containing clear recommendations and information that will help them to take small steps that add-up to make a big difference. Their health report will also signpost and provide access to our other wellbeing partners via their To Do page. Our other wellbeing partners appear in order, based on answers the customer gave in their assessment - their key area of focus being top of the list.
A protection policy which includes services linked to maintaining or improving a customer's wellbeing seems like a responsible step for protection providers to take. After all, if your clients have support day-to-day to help stop small health issues turning into major problems, they're more likely to have a healthier lifestyle and stay in work - which helps them to remain financially stable for longer.
Plus, if a client feels they're getting real value from additional features included in their protection plans, such as wellbeing support services, they're less likely to cancel their policies. This means they keep their financial back-up in place in case a life shock does happen - and it also means lower clawback risks for advisers, which is good for you and your business.
To find out more about the changes we've made and how these can support your clients and bolster your protection conversations, visit adviser.royallondon.com/helpinghand
This post was funded by Royal London