Axa protection guru Graham Harvey says one way to bridge the protection gap may be to start hitting consumers with the facts...
Passion isn’t a word that many people associate with the insurance industry; in fact you could even go as far as to say that many would even say it’s a contradiction in terms.
But injecting some passion into the industry is exactly what Peter Le Beau, who chairs the Income Protection Task Force, has been calling for.
The passion to educate consumers about their financial wellbeing and how it's inextricably linked to their health is often reigned in by regulatory red tape and that passion, so desired by Mr Le Beau, gets lost somewhere along the line.
I commend the Government for their hard-hitting TV adverts about alcohol abuse and smoking. The one that really caught my eye and, dare I say it, caused a lump in my throat, had a young boy, speaking directly to the camera, asking his mother to give up smoking.
These adverts reinforce the message that what you do to your body impacts your family as well. Sound like a familiar message?
Like the Government I would like to see us hitting harder with our advertising and in addition we should start using stats in our literature to highlight the reality.
Statistics like eight in 10 breast cancers are diagnosed in women aged 50 and over, or that rates of lung cancer in Scotland are among the highest in the world, reflecting their history of high smoking prevalence, should be used responsibly to inform consumers, giving them the information they need to make a considered decision about protection.
In a recent Daily Telegraph article it was quoted that claims statistics suggest that people are five times more likely to suffer from a serious illness than die before the age of 65, reflecting the increasing need for critical illness cover.
As an industry we should be making the most of using substantiated information to show the potential financial strain that serous illness or sudden death could have on a family.
By not wrapping up consumers in financial cotton wool and being more realistic about health issues, only then can the industry begin to show its passionate commitment to helping people prepare for the unexpected.
Graham Harvey is managing director, protection, at Axa
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