A good friend and industry colleague recently noted very few things still surprise him these days in financial services.
As a hockey-playing Manchester United fan with a penchant for indie music and more than 12 years in financial services, that's perhaps not surprising.
But the odd thing does still catch his eye, such as an insurance company using a clip from BBC's Watchdog program to positively highlight the differences between rival policies.
The recent report from Watchdog was of a woman who had not received a critical illness payout for cancer from her insurer because the cancer had not spread. The kind we have all seen many times before.
First, there was lumpectomy - the surgical excision of a tumour from the breast with the removal of a minimal amount of surrounding tissue, then mastectomy - the subsequent operation of removing all or part of the breast.
The claimant didn't receive a pay-out because the condition was not serious enough - and the provider in question did not, and still doesn't, provide any level of cover for early stage cancers.
The product literature was clear that non-invasive cancers are not covered and as such the Ombudsman backed the insurer's decision not to pay.
However, the woman was left in the difficult and disillusioned position of being not seriously ill enough to receive a pay out, but too ill to be able to get any other similar insurance for some time.
A handful of forward thinking insurers provide a proportionate payout for early stage cancers and have done for several years.
Such improvements may in part be an answer to the protection price war as providers realise that continuing to compete on price alone is not sustainable in the long term. Nor does it facilitate best practice for products that vary as much as critical illness cover.
While it is perhaps simplistic to say our products must adapt to continually evolving circumstances to stay appropriate and relevant, it would be wrong to assume that 'survival of the fittest' only applies to the human race.
Products too, need to be 'fit' in order to keep up - and preferably ahead - of the curve, otherwise, particularly in these difficult times, they are likely to become marginalised.
Protection products are there to provide peace of mind and cover to those who need it most - tell us the truth, pay your premiums and we'll be there for you if the bad stuff happens.
To be fair, I don't think anyone did cover mastectomy when the policy in question was written, but that highlights the potential importance of keeping up to date with market developments, including protection.
When products are evolving and improving there is a valid argument, perhaps for the first time in many years, for advisers to take a look at existing policies to compare them to the new market.Kevin Carr is director of protection development at PruProtectIFAonline
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