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Aegon report shows lack of protection cover amongst working women

27 March 2017

With nearly half of working women in the UK lacking a financial safety net there is a real need for advisory firms to help women take purchasing protection into their own hands, says the insurer.

Aegon’s ‘Protection Matters’ report has revealed that half (48%) of working women* in the UK don’t have any form of protection in place.

The report found that just 10% of women with protection automatically receive this through their workplace, highlighting the need for women to seek out personal protection by speaking to a financial adviser.

The report added that adviser firms can play a key role in encouraging the take up of protection, as 15% of working women said they took out protection following a recommendation by a mortgage provider or financial adviser.

One reason for the discrepancy is that while protection is important to women when looking at job roles – 44% of the women surveyed asked their current employer about its provision as a workplace benefit, “the importance women place on this doesn’t seem to be matched by employers who are often leaving women to take protection into their own hands,” Aegon reported.

In addition, it said, “a clear gap remains between women’s financial priorities and their levels of protection. Nearly half (46%) of women believe it’s solely their responsibility to financially support their family should the unexpected happen, and without the safety net protection provides many would be forced to turn to their partner’s income, savings or in some cases government benefits.”

“However, with over half (51%) of working women being the main breadwinner in the family, it’s likely that this would place significant pressure on their loved one’s income or savings.”

The insurer pointed out that protection can reduce financial worry and allow families to continue making mortgage or rent payments, or paying into a pension, and maintain their day-to-day expenses, to maintain as ‘normal’ a life as possible “while they focus on their recovery or coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. It could also protect people’s retirement saving for the future.”

Stephen Crosbie, protection director, Aegon UK, added: “Women can no longer rely on their employers to automatically provide the financial safety net that protection provides. With women’s incomes becoming increasingly important to a family’s financial security there’s a need for more women to put their own plans in place.

“While the levels of automatic protection provision are surprisingly low, this era of self-provision presents a real opportunity for advisers to engage with working women and discuss the importance of taking out a personal protection policy.”

Recognising that one of the greatest issues for advisers to tackle when it comes to self-provision is the perceived cost of protection, Crosbie added that “when compared to other expenses a life insurance policy can cost as little as one bottle of wine a month, the cost of 5 days gym membership or half the price of a takeaway. Just £7.01 a month can ensure that a family is financially supported should the unexpected happen. There’s a clear gap in the market that advisers could fill, helping women identify their protection needs.”

Aegon suggests also that employers should prompt their employees to seek advice on protection policies, as well as running workshops with advisers, and making protection a key topic during career and life planning discussions.

* Total sample size was 2,051 women, with a total of 1,012 business women.


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