The good news for brokers is there has been an increased focus on the Income Protection market recently with an upturn in the economy. This provides fresh opportunities to talk to your clients with renewed confidence. More people are back at work and more new businesses are starting up so the need has never been greater for this valuable protection.
We have also seen more providers entering this space and competition is always good for the consumer. As the market leader in Individual Income Protection in Ireland, we are often asked to provide our view of what makes a good income protection product as brokers want and need to be confident in their recommendation to their clients.
The difficulty with selling protection products is that the benefit is intangible. The Consumer doesn’t tend to realise the value of the product unless they need to claim. Selling on the basis of ‘what if’ can be challenging when people are not seeing a return on their investment. People will insure their house, they’ll insure their car, and they’ll insure their possessions. Yet they rarely seem to realise they could lose them all – whether they are insured or not – if they lose their income.
So if we acknowledge that the client will only truly value the benefit when they need to claim, then it stands to reason that the most important factor in choosing a provider is their claims record and experienc – far more so than a shorter deferred period or other features used to make the sale easier.
Income Protection makes more demands of claimant services than any other protection product, which is why claimant services need to go far beyond financial support. We know that with an income protection claim, in particular, as opposed to a life or specified illness claim that the claimant is going to need that provider to work with them over the longer term to achieve recovery. The average claim lasts just over 5 years but we have been paying some claims for almost 35 years.
Sometimes what the claimant needs is; help in getting the right medical diagnosis or access to the right consultant, proper rehabilitation or counselling. Something they ALWAYS need is the reassurance that they have someone they can call that knows their case, understands what they are going through and is there to support their full recovery in whatever way they need it.
Through services such as dedicated claims assessors, tailored rehabilitation programmes, return-to-work assistance, specialist medical treatments and more, we are steadfastly focused on helping claimants get the very best out of their policy benefits and their lives.
So what makes a good Income Protection Product? The best claims approach. And at Friends First we always promote this first and foremost as the core part of our proposition. With over 180 years of tried and tested claims experience – that’s more than anyone else – we know exactly what it takes to look after all of your claimants’ real needs.
This is why we are proud to be the longest provider of individual income protection in the Irish market. We know that most brokers who have an income protection policy have it with Friends First because you can be confident that when you sell a Friends First income protection product that your clients will benefit from all of our experience.
Friends First have built up an experienced multi-disciplinary Claims Team, comprising Claim Specialists, Health Claims Visitors and Occupational Health Case Managers, Rehabilitation and Retraining Consultants. We carry out regular surveys of our claimants to ensure we stay committed to our promise and claims philosophy with 9 out of 10 independently surveyed claimants stating they would recommend us. So the next time you are recommending an income protection provider to your customer, think about what is most important. We contend that it is the fact they are purchasing a proven claims experience with Irish experts handling them every step of the way when they need it most.