Defaqto has published a review of the service provided by protection providers as rated by financial advisers.
The independent Protection Service Review provides financial advisers with insight to help them benchmark their own personal experiences of protection providers, with those of their peers, enabling them to select partners based on service criteria.
Defaqto asked financial advisers about their views on the service they receive from more than 200 providers, covering discretionary fund managers, protection insurers, platforms, pension and bond providers.
For protection service, advisers were asked to rate providers in relation to 10 categories:
- Underwriting services
- Claims handling and administration
- New business processing
- Product design
- Technical assistance
- Online services
- Business development managers
- Existing business administration
- Provider strength and brand
- Commission and remuneration
‘Underwriting services' and ‘claims handling and administration' came top of the leader board in terms of importance but below in terms of meeting the expectation of service by financial advisers.
While the disparity between importance and delivery of service is evident, it is recognised much of the intermediated protection business is rate driven and not necessarily related to the strength or richness of features of the proposition or the standard of service, Defaqto said.
Advisers were also asked what type of protection products they had recommended in the last 12 months. The results showed that the sector is dominated by level term assurance, critical illness with life cover and decreasing term assurance.
All products have increased support in 2016 compared with 2015, indicating continued support of these types of products, the research found.
In addition, significant increases in satisfaction were seen for ‘product design' and ‘business development managers', which moved from sixth place to fourth place in terms of importance and 10th place to seventh place respectively when comparing the results with the previous survey.
Defaqto said this result indicated advisers are taking a "renewed look" at protection propositions.
Defaqto head of insight and consulting for wealth and protection David Cartwright said: "Our survey with financial advisers clearly shows that, if a feature of a service is important, then the delivery of that feature must be equally as important.
"Falling short of this could cause adviser dissatisfaction so providers need to work hard at readdressing the balance, even when the area is that of protection which is often seen as rate driven."
"Defaqto's Service Ratings provide insightful information that the industry can benefit from and they form part of our range of ratings. We analyse around 41,000 financial products in the UK of which nearly 10,000 are funds or fund families."
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