Breathing new life into protection
Thursday 28th January 2010
By Steve Devine, business development manager at IGI insurance Company
There's a breath of fresh air at Upton Park. We almost snatched a win against Pompey.
I know its wrong and I should fight it with all of my willpower but I am starting to believe the Hammers might survive in the Premiership. New board, a new expensive, past his sell by date, injury prone, striker signed up. God help me over the next three months.
I chaired a PPI and Income Protection conference for Infoline yesterday. It went quite well in my opinion. There was certainly a good mix from the two market camps in the audience and on the platform and some excellent speakers across a range of subjects.
The highlights for me were from Ravenstone, a fraud investigation company that offers a system they call CIM that they guarantee will produce savings on discovering fraud that will be at least double of the cost of the system. It can be used at the front-end underwriting stage or at the claims end. It struck me as being potentially very effective for direct protection sales over the Internet - plus - you don't get many guarantees in this business.
Also, another highlight at the conference, someone I have known for many years now, Richard Wyatt-Haines, of Exeter Friendly Society and one of the most engaging speakers around. He challenged the traditional PPI and IP providers to really meet customer’s needs by providing simple, affordable products that work. His company offers Bills & Things, a simple IP (Income Protection) product that does what it says on the tin (sorry Ronseal!). It obviously impressed Which? because their speaker Teresa Fritz gave Bills & Things a glowing endorsement from the platform - praise indeed from an influential commentator and stakeholder.
I believe this is an important time for the protection market, the recession provides the best advertising campaign of all time about the need to protect ourselves and our families. The drought in the mortgage market means that protection must discover a new route to customers other than piggy- backing mortgages.
The market needs businesses like the Exeter Friendly Society to start breaking apart the mould and changing the thinking that has helped create the protection gap. I am chairing a Protect meeting tomorrow, which will I hope, by voting in a new constitution, will allow Protect to enter the wider protection markets and help play its part in shaking up traditional thinking on protection products. That breath of fresh air at Upton Park has obviously got to me.
Final point - I cannot remember where I saw it but I am sure I read that the FSA does not refund its annual fees under any circumstances. Is that strictly TCF?
Steve Devine is business development manager at IGI insurance Company and chairs Protect - the Association of UK Creditor Insurers
Steve joined IGI this year from Cardif Pinnacle (formerly Pinnacle Insurance) where he spent 15 years, the last seven as the head of group corporate communications. Before that he was head of general insurance with Hambro Countrywide, the estate agency group.
Steve is married with four children and as a long-suffering West Ham fan he has learned to cope with difficult and extended lean times.
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