IFAs expecting a decade heavy with new protection offerings could be disappointed, as providers plan to focus on adviser education not "churning" products.
Aegon, Zurich, and Aviva all say they have no plans to boost product ranges far beyond their current offerings.
At the same time, 64% of IFAs want more product development in the protection industry over the next 10 years, compared to the last decade, recent research from Scottish Provident suggests.
Faced with an expectation gap, life companies are challenging IFAs to tell them what products they want developed.
Aviva director of protection Richard Verdin asks: "What is it you would like developed? Other than life, critical illness (CI) and income protection (IP), what other long-term risks do clients have? The answer is never there from advisers."
Aviva is developing an alternative to the "popular in theory but hugely undersold in practice" Family Income Benefit (FIB), which pays a regular income on death rather than a lump sum.
But Verdin warns advisers to be realistic in their expectations.
"There are constraining factors on innovation. We can design a new product but if it is not like those already being sold we have to pay portals extra to add it, which therefore reduces the amount of innovation we are willing to do."
Zurich says any changes it makes in the next decade will be focussed on "improving processes, assisting intermediaries and advancing the customer experience".
Protection development manager Gerry Warner says: "We may see a closer alignment between CI and IP as providers attempt to deal with the obvious overlap issues.
"There could also be some development work around the LTC [long-term care] market, once the dust has settled following the election and we start to get clarity on the roles the state and private sector may have to play."
"But there are only so many customer needs to fulfil," he adds.
For Aegon, the future is about "retelling the story" of protection, with providers helping IFAs distinguish themselves from the growing dominance of comparison sites.
Spokesperson Kevin Brown says: "We're not doing a lot on product development. It's more about getting IFAs to engage with business protection, trusts work, and menu based products, which the internet can not provide."
He says providers need to do more to educate advisers in new areas, but expectant advisers also need to look to their business model for solutions, not just new products.
"Advisers need to look at segmenting their clients before finding new ones with new products. IFAs can tackle other areas. This is how they will survive in the years ahead."
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