Category: Insurance

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.

Mortgage Intelligence Update: 60 Seconds with Product Development Manager Nathan Reilly

Sharon spoke to recently-appointed Product Development Manager Nathan Reilly about his role, his background and what it feels like to be one of the key team members of Mortgage Intelligence.

Since joining as a Marketing Assistant at Mortgage Intelligence in 2014, Nathan has quickly progressed within the company, holding positions as Marketing Executive and Product Development Coordinator, before becoming Product Development Manager earlier this year.

Receiving a first-class marketing degree from Chichester University, Nathan’s first step into the industry was through a leading lender as a Customer Service Adviser. Fully CeMAP qualified, Nathan brings not just knowledge, but a real enthusiasm for developing relationships and products with lenders, providers and other partners.

What exactly does your role entail and how do you help advisers through lender relationships?

“A key part of my role is building and nurturing relationships with lenders, providers and other partners. This means that as a Network and Mortgage Club we are always aware of the latest developments from across the industry, and in turn, considering the next potential opportunity.

“The relationships we have with our partners are ultimately in place to make sure our advisers receive the highest level of service and support, so another important part of my role is regularly sharing any adviser feedback I receive.”

Which aspect of your role are you enjoying the most so far?

“I love the variation and no two days are ever the same! I spend a lot of the time thinking on my feet as I look for ways to maximise broker value. This can include identifying which product criteria adjustments and special features will help our advisers the most. I spend time communicating with lenders and providers through different mediums, working with them on the right approach to ensure our advisers are looked after first.”

What changes do you think we might see in the lending space over the rest of 2017?

“As consumer needs change we are seeing specialist lenders and challenger banks positively influencing the market. This is something we have responded to over the past 12 months by welcoming a diverse range of lenders and their products to panel.

“Although there is an argument to say this has happened already, I think Buy to Let lending will continue to polarise. Lenders will fit in to one of two categories, they will either be a specialist Buy to Let lender with a proposition designed for professional landlords, or an amateur landlord lender that will focus on landlords with just one or two properties.

“More lenders are also looking at the first-time buyer market and making positive changes to products and services to support people looking to take their first step onto the housing ladder. It will be interesting to see whether other lenders follow suit or even make this growing market their own.”

I hear your golfing prowess is without equal within Mortgage Intelligence. What would therefore be your ultimate golfing destination?

“My dream golfing holiday would be a tour of the United States, including legendary courses such as Pebble Beach and Augusta. But as that won’t be happening anytime soon, I think I would settle for a day trip to Scotland to play a round at the home of golf: St Andrews.”

If you could meet one celebrity in person, who would it be and why?

“Can I have a fictional character instead? In that case it would definitely be Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. He is a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist…everything I’m not.”

Favourite sporting moment?

“As a golf fan it has to be the 2012 Ryder Cup, otherwise known as the Miracle at Medinah. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

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.

Paymentshield: Santa Claus is coming to claim!

Even at the most wonderful time of the year you need to be thinking about providing your clients with a quality insurance policy. Santa included. And, if Santa had quality Home Insurance with Paymentshield he could ensure he had a Christmas cracker rather than a Christmas crisis.

Festive flexibility

With all the presents he needs to deliver on Christmas Eve, along with the added festive treats, Santa has more contents in his home in the run up to Christmas than usual.
Thankfully, Paymentshield Home Insurance offers an automatic uplift in contents cover for the month before and after Christmas. So, if calamity struck and Santa had a December break-in, his insurance cover would protect him from being left out of pocket by having to replace all the gifts before the big day. Phew!

The Grinch

Speaking of theft, Santa would also be covered for any potential altercations he may encounter with the Grinch. Malicious damage caused from icy snow balls thrown through the window would be covered by Santa’s building insurance, as well as providing financial protection against theft from his shed while he’s out delivering presents.

Freezer failure

If the worst should happen and Mrs. Claus’ festive freezer stock gets damaged when it conveniently breaks-down, she should check to see if her policy covers it, as not all policies will. Thankfully, Santa’s quality Contents Insurance does provide cover for this – meaning the festive feast would be saved.

Snow storms

As you can imagine, the temperature in Lapland gets pretty low, which can lead to frozen pipes. Luckily, Santa’s buildings insurance would cover the cost of repairs should any damage happen – with his policy ensuring that all work by approved tradesmen is guaranteed for 12 months. Plus, with optional Home Emergency cover he’d be able to call someone out in double quick time to patch up any leaking pipes.

Defective deccies

If the lights on his Christmas tree caused a fire that resulted in a grotty grotto. His Home Insurance would cover all the fire and smoke damage to his buildings, as well as replacing his contents on a new for old basis.

If the grotto can’t be quickly repaired, Santa’s Home Insurance ensures that both he, Mrs. Claus and the Reindeer would be given alternative accommodation until their home becomes habitable again.

Christmas Eve

There’s zero room for panic on his busiest night of the year, so if Santa should lose his wallet or phone whilst out delivering, there’s no need to worry, as long as Santa has Personal Possessions cover for anything normally worn or carried away from the home. He’d even be covered for the loss of money in his wallet and for misuse of his credit card, meaning he’s not out of credit.

Plus, good insurers will even replace his locks and lost keys as standard.

Whether it’s Santa, or any other client, it’s good to remind them about the benefits of quality home insurance, to help them avoid any Christmas disasters. It’s also important to remind them that home insurance is for life, not just for Christmas.

If you’d like to know more contact our Sales Team on 0345 0615 700.

Royal London: Backwards and forwards

You might be forgiven for beginning to think you can breathe a sigh of relief as the end of 2016 looms into view. It certainly seems to have been a rollercoaster of a year with some real highs and it feels like more than its fair share of lows. As the year draws to a close it’s inevitable that some of us turn to look back at what happened with a real mix of emotions.

Internationally, wars have continued to make headlines, displacing families and creating problems no-one should ever have to face. Politically, there have been many different contests and votes with results so unpredictable they couldn’t have been written better in fiction. And nationally, a swathe of celebrity deaths seemed to pique a collective sadness for individuals few of us could possibly have known as anything more than a media personality.

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though. From the national events throughout the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, followed by the spirit, excitement, and huge medal haul, of both the Olympics and Paralympics, the year has had its positives.

As an industry I think there have been some significant steps towards creating a more positive future for protection too.

So what have we learned this year?

Listening can be seen as one of the best ways to learn. The industry has definitely taken note of the things both advisers and customers have been saying about their needs in terms of protection, and improvements are beginning to take shape.

With an increased number of improved online processes, the application journey made by advisers should have been a little easier this year. Advisers are now able to free-up time by using improved online underwriting systems from a variety of providers.

We’ve received positive press recognising our step away from the ‘numbers race’ when it comes to critical illness cover. By providing better quality cover for the most claimed-for conditions, advisers should find it easier to recommend the right product.

We know the industry continues to make efforts to improve the outcomes for those who make a claim. When your customer’s world feels like it’s collapsing after a life-changing diagnosis, it’s unlikely that their first thought will be ‘how will I pay the mortgage?’ Support around telling the family, or guidance through treatment is likely to be higher on their list of priorities. Added value services are becoming more commonplace because while the money at the point of claim is useful, the emotional support can often make the biggest initial impact.

New ways to reach customers

2016 saw the conclusion of the 7Families campaign. The campaign helped seven families from across Britain whose lives had been turned upside down by long-term illness or life-limiting conditions. By giving practical and financial support, the initiative successfully raised awareness of the importance of income protection.

Statistics show that individuals have a higher chance of needing income protection during their working life than life cover or critical illness cover. An ‘average’ 30 year old, retiring at 65 has a 38% chance of being off work for 2 months or more1. But with less than 10% of customers buying income protection2, advisers need more campaigns like this to give them the ammunition they need to sell more.

Our own income protection report has been well received by advisers. Allowing them to create tailored reports to give to clients, they highlight the risks individuals face and the fact that all budgets can afford to add a little income protection.

Giant strides for Royal London

We’re proud of our achievements in 2016 and can barely believe that it’s just 12 months since we rebranded to Royal London. In that time, we’ve improved our online service to make life easier for advisers: we now offer estimated decisions for non-standard cases and can give likely costs for rated cases. On top of the online improvements we refreshed our underwriting proposition to focus more on the most commonly disclosed conditions, improved our critical illness cover to provide better cover for the most claimed for conditions, and added help for carers to our Helping Hand service amongst other things.

But, ‘self-praise is no praise’ as the saying goes. And thankfully it’s not just us that thinks we’ve attained a lot this year. We were delighted to win Company of the Year not once, but three times in 2016. In June, we received the accolade in both the FT Online Innovation and Service Awards and Money Marketing Awards, and then just this week we received the same title in the FT Adviser 5* Service Awards. It means such a lot to us.

But this means that we can’t rest on our laurels. Innovation continues to be a keyword when discussing the future of protection. And while providers labour to develop better, pioneering products they also need to consider the new hooks that will convince more customers protection is a necessity, and design new tools to make the sale easier for advisers.

We’re looking forward to welcoming 2017.

This is a Royal London promotion.

Source :
1 – Hannover Re, March 2016. Statistics, assuming a 50% gender mix and 25% smoker mix, show the ‘average’ 30 year-old retiring at 65 has a 4% chance of dying, a 13% chance of getting a critical illness and a 38% chance of being off work for 2 months or more.
These figures have been produced based on their interpretation of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Continuous Mortality Investigation insured lives incidence rates together with their estimated view of future trends.
2 – YouGov Life and Health Protection survey, 2015