Insight: the importance of protection in financial planning

Adam Higgs, Head of Research at Protection Guru, takes a practical look at some of the tools which advisers can use to help them select the most appropriate protection product for their clients’ needs

Covid-19 has prompted a significant increase in consumer interest in protection products. The industry needs to ensure that this opportunity is not lost and continue to spread the word that for most, protection is the foundation of any financial plan.

In recent times, the protection industry has focused on the personalisation of products and added some fantastic features to their policies to meet the needs of different demographics of clients. Whilst some insurers have created specific plans for certain types of clients, others have added features to their existing plans both of which are of huge benefit for clients. The impact on advisers, however, is a wider range of products of increasing sophistication that can be hard to keep track of.

Choosing the right product

When giving protection advice, it is imperative that advisers be able to identify the right protection product for their client’s specific needs and that providers are developing and improving products that are truly reflective of the consumers’ needs.

In 18 months, Protection Guru has become the go-to technical resource in the protection market, delivering detailed, technical analysis and research on protection products for advisers, providers’ and reinsurers in the protection market.

Powered by FTRC – which has been combining financial analysis and the power of technology to deliver analysis on products and services for 25 years – Protection Guru is an independent, data-driven consultancy, dedicated to providing clarity, based on facts for those within the industry.

Our purpose is to educate and inform advisers on protection products, providing product analysis, comparisons, policy condition changes, and policy upgrades across a full range of protection contracts.

We aim to equip advisers with the knowledge and resources to feel confident when talking to clients about their protection plans, to empower them to make better, more informed decisions to deliver the best possible advice to the consumer, whilst simultaneously supporting providers to improve their products for the benefit of the consumer.

The power of information

Information powers everything we do. From the various benchmarking systems that we provide to advisers and our daily technical analyses, through to our adviser forums which bring together advisers and providers, we look to facilitate better communication and make the market a more transparent place.

Benchmarking and comparison tool

Protection Guru has been conducting analysis on product features in an unparalleled level of granular detail for over 5 years.

Powered by our unique benchmarking and comparison engine we compare protection products based on quality, and specifically look at the various features whih advisers deem important to their client. We currently benchmark in excess of 50 products and their features on a data set in excess of 5,000 questions. This benchmarking can be accessed via our own Quality Analyser system, through our partnership with iPipeline to support their SolutionBuilder Product Features report and our product ratings.

Not only does this help advisers to identify the right product for their client and lend clarity on each provider propositions and what it provides, but it seeks to drive quality in the market by highlighting areas where insurers are strongest, or where they could improve.

Our technical analysis on critical illness policies is unique to the market. Every CI proposition is analysed by our independent panel of medical practitioners, ensuring that every word of a CI policy is rigorously verified.

Responding to the adviser community

To enhance our information service, we produce daily technical summaries and insights of a granular level of detail on complex issues, products and their features – detailing how products work in practice; the difference between insurers’ offerings, and importantly, how they benefit clients.

The future of the protection market in 2021   

Covid-19 has prompted a significant increase in consumer interest in protection products. The industry needs to ensure that this opportunity is not lost and continue to spread the word that for most, protection is the foundation of any financial plan.

Protection Guru has sought to help in this mission. In a year of unprecedented change, we kept our finger on the pulse of the protection industry – keeping advisers and providers abreast of emerging trends; product developments and key issues impacting the consumer, to keep the industry future fit.

This year, the protection industry will undoubtedly be judged by how it responds to these such key issues:

Underwriting challenges: The pandemic exacerbated challenges which have always existed for insurers and advisers. Whilst the industry is still in a period of uncertainty, how can insurers do more to get cases underwritten? How can advisers ensure clients are getting the cover they need?

Income protection: Whilst income protection has always been important, more consumers are now experiencing a changing income. How can providers adapt their products to provide greater flexibility for people who have changing incomes?

Demystifying the market: Our mission is to combat the misinformation of protection products which has made the market difficult for advisers and consumers to navigate. How can providers better communicate product changes to advisers, and where can the industry change its terminology to improve understanding?

Using our wealth of product information, technical knowledge, and practical tools, Protection Guru will continue to deliver on its purpose to work with providers and advisers to ensure the industry can rise to the challenge to meet the needs of the consumer.

Advisers can access any of Protection Guru’s information services, reports and tools for free via ProtectionGuru.co.uk.

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