Income protection sales are set to hit 20% of all protection sales this year at The Openwork Partnership highlighting the success of a network-wide drive to support advisers on helping more clients access vital cover.
The company has set up a dedicated in-house Protection Challenge Team as part of a data-driven focus on supporting wealth advisers as well as mortgage and protection advisers to expand into new markets and explore new products.
Sales have increased year-on-year since 2014 while the average age of clients taking out income protection has fallen year-on-year currently averaging 34 for women and 35 for men with around one in four clients buying income protection under 30-years-old. The top identifiable occupation of clients is teachers with other popular occupations including nurses, builders, accountants, carpenters and managers.
Clients of The Openwork Partnership are benefiting from the protection focus with total claims paid out for life and critical illness hitting £88.3 million for around 1,200 claims last year – the equivalent of more than £7 million paid out a month to 100 clients.
The Openwork Partnership has helped advisers in highlighting the importance of income protection with a wide range of support including best practice workshops outlining common myths about the product, interactive sales presentations with links to claims videos and calculators and internal awards recognising Protection Heroes.
Its in-house Protection Challenge Team is supported by staff from propositions, marketing, communications, business development, management information and compliance. There is also an internal adviser team to act as a virtual office for network members who cannot service their business. They can take on all protection activity on the back of mortgages for members.
Setul Mehta, Head of Business Development and Adviser Services at The Openwork Partnership said: “Income protection is fundamentally the product that clients are most likely to need as the risk of not being able to work is far greater than the risk of death yet it’s always the case that life cover sells much more which is what we have tried to address.
“It has been a long-standing focus at The Openwork Partnership, but the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of vulnerability and its effect on ability to earn which illustrates the benefits of income protection perfectly.”
The Openwork Partnership has worked closely with the Income Protection Task Force supporting its Income Protection Awareness Week earlier this year and delivered against its pledge of supporting the next generation of clients and advisers through many of the activities shared.
Jo Miller of the Income Protection Task Force commented: “Working with Networks is vitally important to the success of the work IPTF is doing to raise awareness of IP and it has been particularly impressive to see how dedicated The Openwork Partnership have been to prioritize the need to protect income and supporting this message with members. We look forward to seeing how they take this work forward and to working with them to achieve their ambitions.”