Non-disclosure is the most important issue facing the protection industry, according to Nick Kirwan, chairman of the ABI Protection Committee.
Speaking at the Protection Review Conference in London today, Kirwan says: “The most important issue for our industry is non-disclosure.
"We’re reducing the number of incidents, but we need to do more work on treating people fairly when non-disclosure comes up.”
Kirwan also outlined non-linked non-disclosure as a key reason for the industry’s poor public image, an issue which television programmes, such as BBC’s Watchdog, have often been critical of.
Kirwan says: “We’re not going to get people on our side by turning down someone’s breast cancer claim because they didn’t tell us they had a bad back.”
Kirwan also says the industry needs to improve its definitions of permanent disability to reflect the numerous causes of disability and it must build awareness of income protection products among advisers and the public.
However, Kirwan was also positive about the future of the protection industry, despite a recent downturn in the sale of protection products.
He says that sustainability, reputation and regulation are three key areas in which the industry is improving.
He also says that there is increasing need for protection products among members of the public, meaning there is a large number of untapped sales targets, but many people do not have enough awareness of protection.
Kirwan cited increased reliance on two incomes, a ‘buy now – pay later’ society, the £27bn savings gap, and £1.3trn debt mountain, as major reasons why protection products are more important than ever before.
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