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Justin Harper – Head of Protection Marketing & External Affairs
Many of your clients might consider their most valuable asset to be their house, car, maybe their pension savings or the prospect of an inheritance. But like most, they’ll overlook the obvious – themselves and their ability to earn.
Their income pays for everything - the essential everyday bills such as mortgage, rent, utilities and food, plus the comfortable extras such as holidays, nights out and treats. Income doesn’t just cover today’s expenses - it also fuels their savings, pension contributions and their family’s future.
And while people have money worries, rarely does anyone wake up with a screaming urge to protect their most valuable asset – their income – against the possibility of a life shock. Instead, they’re more likely to insure their mobile phone or their much-loved pug (more contracts they wouldn’t be able to pay should they lose their income). Income is an over-looked and under-appreciated treasure.
So, how can we protect this treasure for your clients? The Income Protection (IP) world is a vibrant one, with plenty of proposition changes from insurers which are helping to demonstrate the increasingly everyday value of IP and a more holistic response to the wider experiences of people who need to take time off work.
For example, we’re witnessing the introduction of more lump sum type benefits – for events such as death, fractures and, recently from LV=, a child’s serious illness. No parent wants to think about their child becoming seriously ill. Unfortunately, this is a reality for some families. LV= Parent and Child cover provides parents with a lump sum benefit of 6x their monthly cover amount, up to £25,000 if their child is diagnosed with a specific condition. This benefit gives parents a financial cushion at a time where all they’ll want to worry about is taking care of their little one.
Early intervention support is also becoming the norm, demonstrating that IP is far more than just a financial pay-out. Rehab support services from LV= are available as soon as the policyholder is unable to work - even during the waiting period - offering essential services and care such as, physiotherapy, psychological support, and return to work services.
Specialist cover is widely available for clients in specific occupations such as doctors, dentists, surgeons and teachers. With LV= and other providers offering sick pay guarantees that take into account industry specific sick pay arrangements. And, not forgetting those clients in riskier occupations where a more affordable age-costed approach can be offered for clients working in jobs such as electricians, plumbers and nurses under Personal Sick Pay from LV=.
As an industry we’ve come to know that it’s not just physical issues that should be guarded against, openness about mental health has come on leaps and bounds, and we're all getting familiar with the statistics. The most recent figures show that one in six of us are experiencing a common mental health issue in any given week .
Mental health is a leading reason for IP claims, and where a client has experienced mental health problems it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get cover. Where it’s led to time off work within the last two to three years, IP providers are more likely to apply an exclusion, rather than a full decline. LV= has gone further, and is the only provider currently offering ‘automatic reviewable exclusion’ periods, at point of sale and without the need for additional medial evidence. That's really important for cases of mental health (which represent about half of all our reviewable exclusions ). If your client has a history of mental health problems, but has no further issues after taking out their policy, LV= can remove that exclusion after one, two or three years upon request.
This leads us on nicely to the non-claim (almost ‘preventative’) services through the likes of GP services, prescriptions, health checks and medical/counselling support. All make IP far more meaningful, relevant and engaging for clients. For example, LV= Dr Services has recently been extended to offer remote psychological services, remote physiotherapy and discounted health MOTs as well as the existing remote GP, prescriptions and second opinion services.
These value added services can help provide a simple remedy for the everyday trials such as taking time out to see a GP about a minor ailment (for you or your little ones), or those nagging back pains, or when life gets on top of you and you’re feeling anxious and stressed, without the need to actually claim.
So, income is your client’s most important valuable asset; they need to protect it. And IP is proving far more than just a financial safety net, with tailor-made protection available for more people and holistic support at the big ‘moment of truth’ at claim, and for those bumps in the road of life too.
 LV= September - March 2019