National Protection Sales Manager Bernie Buron explores several ways advisers can help make Income Protection more affordable for clients

Affordability is still one of the biggest consumer objections when talking about any kind of protection, but income protection in particular is such an underused yet common sense approach to covering finances, that breaking down the affordability barrier is especially helpful for clients.

Helping clients visualise the situation they would be in were they to lose their income is such a useful way to break down opposition to affordability when taking out income protection. Comparing the swift and stress-free claims process with the laboured and unreliable state benefits system can also highlight why income protection is such a good idea. But even when your client has recognised the benefits and the risk a lack of protection can bring, affordability can still remain an obstacle.

So in your client conversation, how can you help your clients work within their budget so that they don’t leave themselves open and vulnerable to worst case scenarios?

Deferred periods can be extended to help with affordability

Extending the deferred period on a policy will normally reduce the premiums, as it reduces the risk of pay-out for the provider. Of course as an adviser your priority is to protect your client as far as possible, which means recommending cover that starts from the moment they are no longer fully covered by their employer. But if affordability is still an issue, extending the deferred period so that your client is at least in some way covered is an option, as long as it is recorded in your client conversations and on your Reason Why Letter.

Budget income protection is a possible option

Clients should always consider longer term income protection first, as this provides the most cover. But there may be circumstances where affordability has become enough of an issue for budget income protection to become an option. This option may also better suit those on zero-hour contracts and agency workers, as their employer most likely has no legal obligation to cover their income if your client was unable to work. Most providers will limit the pay-out time to 24 months.

Menu plans can help tailor protection to your client’s budget

Menu plans are available with most of the big providers and can be a really useful and convenient way to arrange all your client’s protection to suit their circumstances and their budget. Not only do they allow you to mix and match products and tailor protection to your client, but when it comes to claiming, having all their products with one provider can deliver that added peace of mind and convenience at a difficult time. Menu plans can also help advisers discuss options and maximise cover within the ascertained budget. If affordability is still an issue, you can record this and then discuss scaling back some of the benefits, whilst still maintaining the core cover products.

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