Advisers expect the protection market to grow
• Critical illness and income protection product sales will drive expansion
• Cover is increasingly seen as necessary by clients, but affordability is a concern
Financial advisers are targeting strong growth across the individual protection market as a whole and in their own businesses over the next two years, reveals new independent research1 for HSBC Life (UK) Ltd.
The study, which was conducted as the coronavirus crisis forced the UK into lockdown, found advisers specialising in individual protection forecast 14 per cent growth for the advised protection market by 2022. They also predict their own firm’s protection sales will expand by the same amount over the period.
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of advisers questioned believe there is an opportunity to grow the advised market substantially in the next two years, highlighting the optimism among advisers despite the current uncertainty. Almost all advisers surveyed, expect some growth in the market.
The market is predicted to grow through what is sure to be a challenging economic period, with many individuals likely to seek out the security afforded by protection products as a reaction to current events.
Policies expected to see the most growth are identified as critical illness insurance, which half (50 per cent) of advisers believe will achieve the largest expansion in sales, while 47 per cent believe income protection insurance is most likely to benefit from the expanding market.
Advisers say there is a growing recognition among clients that protection products are important – 61 per cent say cover is regarded as very necessary by many customers. However less than two out of five (38 per cent) believe policies are seen as affordable, which could be a potential brake on growth in the advised market.
Mark Hussein, CEO of HSBC Life (UK) Ltd, said: “The cover that protection offers customers is increasingly seen as invaluable, with people recognising that looking after themselves and those they love is a vital investment. Recent events have only served to underline this thinking. We have recorded a 30 per cent increase in visits to our Life Insurance webpages, emphasising increased awareness and demand for protection products and reinforcing the opportunity for advisers.
“It is interesting that so many advisers at this time are optimistic about growth in the advised protection market despite the uncertainty and that they believe critical illness and income protection are likely to be the biggest opportunities for growth over the next two years as the protection market expands. Recent feedback and support of IFAs for our own protection offering has demonstrated that this opportunity is there.
“Advisers are resilient and adaptable and are seeing there is an opportunity to demonstrate their value and expertise to customers, while also growing their own businesses supporting customers in protecting what is valuable to them.”
The table below shows the product areas where advisers believe there is likely to be most growth over the next two years.
|POLICY||PERCENTAGE OF ADVISERS EXPECTING SALES GROWTH|
|Health Cash Plans||34%|
|Accident and Sickness||32%|
|Whole of Life||20%|
|Total Permanent Disability||12%|
Advisers identified the increase in self-employment and the gig economy as a potential source of growth for the advised protection market in the next two years – currently2 nearly 4.7 million workers are classified as self-employed while 2.8 million are estimated to work in the gig economy.
More than two out of five (41 per cent) advisers believe the growth of the gig economy will boost sales of advised protection products, while 30 per cent believe the self-employed will fuel sales of protection cover over the next two years.
1Research conducted March 1st and 25th 2020 using an online methodology by independent research company PollRight among 108 independent financial advisers focusing on protection sales