Craig Bryce

Mortgage Intelligence Update: The Real Cost of Critical Illness

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce takes a look why emphasising the real cost of living with a critical illness is an important message to deliver to clients.

We often protect our car, home and pets before ourselves, sometimes assuming that personal protection such as critical illness cover is too expensive to consider. But without protection, would your client be able to cover the costs in the event of a critical illness?

A recent report by Macmillan Cancer Support suggests cancer costs an average of £570 a month in increased outgoings and reduced income. £570 is comparable to the average monthly mortgage payment in the UK. Critical illness cover pays out a lump sum to help with these additional costs and loss of income should your client be diagnosed with a critical illness included in their cover.

The additional costs can often be associated with things like regular trips to medical appointments or in some cases having to pay for additional childcare. As a result of cancer 30% of people also experience a loss of income, with those affected losing an average of £860 per month, whilst 33% of individuals either have to stop working permanently or temporarily.

Living with an illness is stressful enough for your client and their family, but worrying about the implications of not having financial cover does not bear thinking about. Having suitable protection to give peace of mind and security in the face of a critical illness has never been more important.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

How to make Income Protection a great retention tool

Craig Bryce talks about how income protection can be integrated to be part of an adviser’s overall client retention process

One of the best parts of my role at Mortgage Intelligence is spreading the protection word and sharing best practices. One of the best platforms for doing this are protection workshops, which give people the chance to have detailed conversations and ultimately inspire each other to do more for clients.

I recently hosted three protection workshops, which gave me the chance to sit down with advisers and discuss reasons why they might not be selling as much income protection as they could. One of the main reasons for not writing more income protection, was concern that they may be potentially over-insuring the client, should their circumstances change. An example being that the client may potentially earn less during the time of the plan and therefore will be paying a higher premium than necessary.

This got me thinking. Could income protection therefore be used as a retention tool? This would also help ensure that the client’s circumstances best match their income protection plan.

So how might an adviser help ensure this works? An idea might be to set a diary reminder from the time the plan started, so that every anniversary the adviser could contact the client either over the phone, email or by post, to remind them of all the added benefits and services their policy delivers.

Simply booking a time with the client to discuss income protection and their current circumstances, can deliver plenty of benefits such as staying relevant and fresh in the client’s mind and letting them know you are always looking after their best interests. This will also create a barrier between your client and someone else looking to upsell to them.

As with many other best practices, setting up review systems, spreadsheets and processes takes work. But I have seen this pay off on the long term for firms, with increased retention and repeat business.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

Mortgage Intelligence update: Keep your friends close, and your clients closer

Craig highlights the importance of reviewing circumstances with your clients and keeping in touch with policy reminders.

Some of the most successful protection companies regularly review client needs and circumstances. I firmly believe it is a very important part of the protection sales process.

Keeping in regular contact with your client is essential, because even though you may have sold them a protection policy that will safeguard them against worst case scenarios, how can you guarantee a client’s needs and circumstances haven’t changed?

Client protection needs can change quickly

Over the past several years I have attended five of my friends’ weddings. Since then, three of those couples have now had children. This is a perfect example of protection needs clearly changing in only a short amount of time. If they had taken out their original policy before getting married, their circumstances will now be markedly different.

Annual reminders of benefits for clients

As an adviser, how do you best keep in contact to review a client’s status? One effective way is to send out annual reminders of the additional benefits that the client’s protection policy has. This might include Best Doctors Global Treatment® with AIG Life and Aviva, LV’s Doctor’s Services and Royal London’s Helping Hand.

Many of the firms I have met with in the past have provided these annual reminders as a matter of course. It serves as a reminder of the advice you delivered, keeps you relevant to your client, whilst also supporting the prevention of policy clawback.

Regular client catch-ups

Another tip is to schedule the client in for a catch up in 12 months’ time, whether a face to face meeting or simply a quick chat on the phone. This may of course lead to nothing, but nevertheless a regular check on their circumstances is very important.

As an example of how important this is, I recently put my house up for sale and within a week I received a call from my current lender highlighting the benefits of remortgaging with them directly. I hadn’t even spoken to my financial adviser yet, which shows the importance of remaining top of your client’s list when it comes to big financial decisions such as a remortgage.

Building a solution with your client

Your clients’ circumstances regularly change. They may have previously taken just life cover, but could they now add some critical illness? Some protection writers I have spoken to find that a client generally settles down a couple of years after the initial policy, at which point they often have a greater budget for protection.

If you are a member of our protection panel, the “indicative cost” and “matrix” tools on Solution Builder can make this really easy for you, especially when working to a budget. Equally, if the client has previously said no to the protection sale altogether, something might have changed in their lives to make them re consider.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

Mortgage Intelligence update: Should landlords be encouraging tenants to take out more protection?

Craig Bryce explores the benefit of encouraging landlords to pass the protection conversation onto their tenants.

There is a common belief among landlords that aside from buildings insurance, they simply don’t need protection. They believe that should they become critically ill or die, they would either sell their property or it would become part of their estate.

Ok, I admit it’s not that simple. Of course landlords recognise the importance of a good protection plan. In fact, plenty of landlords take out protection to cover their rental payments.

But if it isn’t something they need directly from the adviser, should they be passing on the protection conversation to their tenants regardless? Tenants will likely be unprotected and certainly in need of some cover.

Of course the big question for landlords is: How can ensuring tenants are protected benefit me and my business?

Securing income

A large number of people renting are at a halfway point between living at home and moving into their own home. It is a common ambition in the UK to own your own home, for the security and confidence it delivers. But their hard work could all be undone if they were to fall ill and had to pay the rent with their savings.

The majority of landlords insist on a six month notice to end an agreement on a flat. If the tenant’s employer covers them for less, what would they do about the shortfall in income? This could affect the cash flow of landlords significantly.

So what is the alternative? Well, if their tenant has an income protection policy in place, it will cover most of their lost income. If the plan has a two year payment period, this would ensure that they have both the six months to cover the notice period and another 18 months grace period, in case the illness turned into a longer-term absence. Either way, they would now have two years of breathing space and steady income from the policy.

Affordable options

I am always surprised just how affordable an income protection policy can be. I ran a quick quote on iPipeline’s SolutionBuilder, and saw that a short term two-year payment income protection plan (to age 65 with a 4 week deferred period for £1,000 a month), can only cost between £15 and £20.

We have some great specialist income protection companies on our protection panel to go alongside the mainstream income protection providers. These include The Exeter and British Friendly, giving advisers a comprehensive selection to offer their landlords’ tenants.

With low housing supply and high deposits, many renters simply do not realise how important it is to protect their income. Landlords could be encouraging tenants to cover themselves, which is often in the financial interests of both landlords and tenants. This would also ensure what all landlords want: A long term tenant, to avoid the hassle of marketing the property out again.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

Mortgage Intelligence Protection Update: Don’t leave your clients in the dark this autumn

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce highlights the importance of staying in touch with clients and providing regular protection reviews

Staying in contact with clients about protection, whether through regular reviews, newsletters, catch-ups or reminders of policy benefits, is a vital part of the advice you deliver. It is important to remember that protection needs can change in the blink of an eye for a client, leaving them vulnerable to financial shocks and worst case scenarios.

Circumstances change quickly

Your clients are unlikely to call you up to announce a new addition to their family, which can leave them needing more cover. Neither are they likely to shout about a new promotion, which may open up their budget to give them the opportunity to improve on their level of protection. That is why staying in contact with your clients regularly will help ensure they have the cover they need and support client retention.

Making annual statements work for you

Royal London, AIG, Scottish Widows and Zurich are some of the protection providers already issuing annual statements to customers, detailing the policies and the level of cover that they hold. Why is this so important? Because using them as a sales aid and following up on these with your client can be a great way to build on the advice you give.

Remind them of benefits

It is worth reminding clients of the added value benefits of their cover, such as Royal London’s Helping Hand or LV’s Doctors Services. Calling them up to talk about their cover may often result in a frantic search at the other end of the phone, as they realise they are not as aware of the benefits as they assumed.

Refreshing the protection conversation

It is a lot to expect of clients to fully grasp the implications of protection the first time around. Cover is often sold during the mortgage meeting, when they already have a lot on their mind. They may also now have a slightly different attitude about the necessity of protection, their budget and what cover they require.

Industry changes

Sometimes there are changes in the world of protection that may affect whether your client’s policy is best for them. For example, Aviva recently merged with Friends Life, which may have changed whether your client is on the most suitable protection plan. Supporting

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

Protection update: Is your client covered for mental health?

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce looks at the latest news regarding mental health and highlights how you can help your clients stay protected against one of the most common workplace absences in the UK.

Critical Illness Cover and Life Insurance are vital to ensure your client and their family are covered against worst-case scenarios. But what about the most common situations that clients can find themselves in?

This is where income protection comes in. It normally pays up to 60% of their income and protects against long term absence. It serves as daily peace of mind should they need time off work, your client won’t have the added stress of worrying about covering the bills.

How common is absence for mental health?

According to ECIS data, absences for mental health are as common as absences for colds and bugs. This makes mental health now one of the top three reasons for employee absence, with musculoskeletal conditions and general sickness.

The problem doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon either, with a recent NHS report showing that nearly a third of ‘fit for work’ notes issued by GPs are for psychiatric problems. This has now made it the most common reason for ‘fit for work’ notes to be issued, ahead of musculoskeletal diseases.

How can your client cover themselves?

Fortunately, most income protection providers pay out for absence for mental health, which unless they have budget income protection, will pay out for every occasion they are absent from work after the deferred period has elapsed.

It is also important to ensure that should your client be absent from work for mental health problems, they don’t have the added stress and anxiety of not working and not being paid. This can exacerbate the problem itself and extend their absence from work.

What if they already have cover?

A good protection menu plan that covers all the scenarios that might make your client vulnerable to financial shocks is always recommended. After all, serious illness and injury are all too common reasons to be absent long term from work, which will not be covered by Life and Critical Illness cover.

Right now, absences from work for mental health are becoming more long term, with one in five psychiatric ‘fit for work’ notes issued for periods of over 12 weeks. This means that the employer being able to cover your client during the period of absence becomes less likely, which makes income protection even more important.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

Mortgage Intelligence protection update: Is protection and wearable tech a match made in heaven?

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce takes a look at the emerging relationship between wearable technology and the protection industry

One of the hottest topics being discussed in the protection industry is the possible move towards embracing wearable technology. One provider is already offering reduced gym memberships, as well as encouraging policy engagement through health and activity tracking. But could wearables change the industry and the relationship between providers and consumers?

The start of something special

These first moves towards integration may start more providers down the road of offering discounts and encouraging customers to engage with their policies. Providers are already discussing whether wearable technology has created the perfect opportunity to develop policies that are not only tailored, but create a continual engagement with the consumer.

The information obtained from wearable devices also give providers the opportunity to better assess risk and therefore improve the underwriting and claims processes. This could enhance the policyholder’s experience further and cut down on fraudulent claims.

A changing landscape

Research by PwC revealed that nearly half of those surveyed now owned some sort of wearable technology. More people now own an activity tracker or smart device, which helps them engage with and monitor their health.

Hard to ignore, the protection industry has begun discussing the integration of this trend, its ramifications and possible impact on consumer engagement. But providers are treading carefully during the sector’s infancy due to consumer concerns. This is understandable, considering how the relationship between wearable technology and protection has the potential to transform the industry.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.

The rise of short term income protection

People’s opinions on income protection may be changing. Brokers are becoming more interested in writing and advising on IP and more people are taking out policies. Our National Account Manager for Protection, Craig Bryce, takes a look at the latest trends in the market.

If there is one thing I have noticed this year that has been different to others, it’s the increase in the amount of brokers looking to write more income protection and an eagerness to engage with IP training sessions.

When I’ve previously talked to brokers many would shy away from writing short term IP policies with a one or two year payment period. But this year it seems as if attitudes are changing. More and more brokers are writing short term IP policies – and rightly so!

When you are trying to tailor a plan to a client’s budget sometimes short term IP might be all they can afford and receiving a benefit for 1 or 2 years is better than nothing at all, right? As well as this, you could always argue that if you are unable to work for 2 years then the likelihood is that you will have claimed on your critical illness plan as well.

Having breathing space could really help your client in an unfortunate circumstance. If you’re off work your bills will keep coming and you also still need to eat and live a life. Having short term IP, even if it’s just for one year, can give a client precious time to decide what they want to do, even sell their house if they need to.

I think with brokers working more towards a client’s budget and tailoring plans specifically to them we will see more short term IP sales going forward, and personally I’m all for it! Short term IP is an option depending on your client’s budget but should your client be able to afford comprehensive income protection then that’s something that should also be considered.

Payment Protection Insurance is optional.  There are other providers of Payment Protection Insurance and other products designed to protect you against loss of income.

Join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative, or become a member of our Mortgage Club, to start benefiting from our fantastic range of comprehensive services and support. Call the Broker Support Team on 0345 130 7446 (opt 1) to find out more.

How to make improving the protection process one of your New Year’s resolutions

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce explains why improving your protection process is a New Year’s resolution worth sticking to…

After a strong year for protection, I am looking forward to building on this in 2018 by helping even more advisers through tailored guidance and support. But what makes a really effective protection process, and how do you successfully embed one? The exact answer to this can be different for each firm, but here are a few ideas that I find can really help boost protection sales…

Make it a mortgage and protection conversation

It is key that the client knows early on that protection will form an important part of the mortgage process. This makes it clear that protecting their finances is seen as an essential part of the conversation.

Helping them allocate a percentage of their budget to protection early can really help embed the idea. This makes protection seem less an afterthought or selling tool, and more part of the overall advice.

Set up regular client reviews

Turning down protection is not uncommon during the mortgage process, as clients are often focussed on their finances and want to keep costs down. This is why catching up with clients regularly helps ensure they have more than one opportunity to receive protection advice.

Some types of protection may not initially have been the right fit for the client’s circumstances. But this can change quickly, which makes reviews important to ensure they are always looked after.

Be armed with the right answers

There are many ways to tackle consumer objections and to help illustrate the importance of protection. Cancer survival rates, the likelihood of prolonged work absences, and showing the reliability of provider pay outs can really help debunk prevailing myths.

Misinformation still sticks to the industry and it is always surprising how many assumptions are made about employer cover and state support. Let the clients realise the problem of not being protected against worst case scenarios, and allow the cover to become the solution.

Become an expert

One of the biggest barriers to selling protection is confidence. Knowing how products work and which ones to recommend your client is a challenge in itself. Understanding how protection suits different lifestyles and circumstances ensures the right products are recommended.

To support advisers, we deliver a range of protection training events throughout the year. Our adviser website also has webinar presentations from providers, and sales aids you can order online.

Tell the right stories

Using real life protection stories can be an effective tool to help clients understand the impact a lack of cover can have on their lives. Work done by charity-led campaigns such as Seven Families, also helps advisers illustrate exactly what can happen when a worst case scenario arises.

Good news stories are effective as well. Showing examples of how clients have made use of added-value benefits is one idea, as well as testimonials from clients that have been relieved to know they had protection in place when they needed it.

Talk about the benefits

Being up to date on all the benefits that providers offer as part of their policy is a great way to get clients excited about protection. These can include medical and legal advice, bereavement and counselling support, and incentives and rewards.

Explaining how these extras work is a great way of bringing products to life. Sending reminders to clients about the benefits of their policy is another way of keeping them regularly informed.

Utilise your staff

Whether it be paraplanners, trainee advisers or administration staff, there are many ways you can delegate non-advisory responsibilities to your team. I have seen firms that get this right see significant improvements in their protection sales.

Although advising and fact-finding with clients is not allowed by non-qualified staff, there are ways your team can help free up time to spend with clients. This includes chasing and preparing quotes, handling queries, research, pre-underwriting support, and chasing medical information.

Adviser support!

We have several fantastic services to support adviser protection sales. This includes our Protection Helpdesk, who deliver guidance on protection terms, and marketing materials and datasheets to help educate and prepare clients.

Join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative, or become a member of our Mortgage Club, to start benefiting from our fantastic range of comprehensive services and support. Call the Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446 (opt 1) to find out more.

Do millennials really need life insurance?

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce examines why more millennials don’t choose life cover, and why this makes it even more important to have the protection conversation

I read a recent study of millennial parents which revealed some startling statistics and attitudes towards life cover. It showed that three quarters of young parents have no life insurance in place to cover them should the worst happen. I was also surprised to hear that 67% said that they simply did not have time to go through their options.

Looking at these figures, I think it is clear more needs to be done by the industry to help young people protect themselves against worst case scenarios.

So why don’t more millennial parents have it?

It seems that generally younger parents will always feel that life insurance is less of a priority than older generations, simply because they are less likely to die anytime soon. The survey revealed that millennials would rather spend their funds on new technology and experiences, than on insurance against future events.

But I wasn’t surprised to hear that many millennials assumed that life insurance was simply too expensive to consider, with 80% prioritising other financial needs, such as living expenses, recreational expenses, and saving money for the future. The cost of life cover is a common misconception among the public and one that has prevailed across the generations.

But life stages, such as buying a house, are being reached much later by millennials. This means that many young parents are left vulnerable while renting, without having had the life insurance conversation with a mortgage adviser.

Why is life cover still so important for millennials? 

As you will know, one of the main reasons millennials should consider life insurance is their age. Life insurance is often cheaper when they are younger, which means putting it off only increases the cost, and taking advantage now will very likely save them money on their premiums.

If your millennial clients have dependents and people that rely on them, you can help them consider what would happen if their income was suddenly taken out of the picture. Would they be able to live comfortably? Would they have the same lifestyle? These are just some of the questions that form an important part of helping more millennials understand the importance of life cover.

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.