Kevin Carr - Could health scans help to sell more protection?01/02/2015
A range of leading protection advisers have called for comprehensive medical scans to be offered as an ancillary benefit for clients who buy protection policies.
Mark Dennison, of Essex-based LightBlue Financial Management, said: “Bearing in mind how technology can detect problems at an early stage and diagnose the root cause of chronic conditions, I would have thought it would be a no-brainer for insurers as it will help identify illnesses before they become critical and enable those with ongoing conditions to find a remedy and return to work.”
The technology exists to take detailed CT and MRI scans of pretty much any area of the body within a matter of minutes, and to older, high net worth clients, such a scan might be of significant interest with services offered either by an insurer or directly through an adviser.
The technology is available to detect illness in its very early stages and to diagnose the root cause of chronic conditions that can prevent sufferers from returning to work and living a normal life. Is it time for the thought leaders within the insurance industry to look more closely at these options and how to incorporate them into health insurance packages for the benefit of their business and for the wellbeing of clients?
The Harley Street-based European Scanning Centre showed that 93 per cent of adviser respondents said policyholders would benefit from a comprehensive health assessment to help them recover from certain conditions and aid their return to work, with more than 70 per cent suggesting the introduction of scans as a product enhancement for high net-worth clients would help advisers with protection sales and persistency rates.
Whether or not any scans would form part of the underwriting process is debatable. The service could be offered after policies had begun so to not disrupt the current process – or if a client wanted to eliminate any potential for non-disclosure before a policy started it could be carried out beforehand along with a report from their GP.
The research surveyed 15 adviser firms, including LifeSearch, London & Country, Sesame Bankhall Group, Risk Assured, Plan Money and Highclere, which together represent more than 13,000 advisers.
Seven Families campaign contributes to increase in protection sales
London & Country has reported a 3% increase in income protection sales – which the company partly attributes to greater awareness and adviser conversations following the Seven Families campaign. Michael Aldridge, sales director for the firm said: "Our advisers are fully aware of the campaign and are pro-actively using it in conversations with clients to highlight the benefits and positive impact on life and lifestyle protection in general can have and specifically IP can have. When the campaign officially kicked off in the last quarter of 2014, we pulled up the stats from the IP team here to find out the penetration in that quarter compared to the first three months of the year. We found a 3% increase in the penetration of IP.”
Royal London recently became the latest insurer to join the Seven Families campaign, a charity-led initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the financial impact of long-term illness and disability. The project, which has the support of 20 different insurer firms, announced the first three families last year, and will be announcing further families to benefit from the project in the coming weeks.