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Clients seek financial safety nets

17 February 2021

A growing number of consumers are seeking advice for income protection and critical illness, as they seek financial security, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.

New research from Zurich found nearly a third (29%) of advisers reported more demand for their services during the crisis, with 39% noting greater interest for protection, while 36% saw demand for illness cover rise.

The insurance giant said the pandemic had brought into focus people wanting to put financial safety nets in place for themselves and their families.

Meanwhile, nearly a third (32%) of advisers said their relationship with clients had strengthened as a result of the crisis, although more than half (52%) disagreed with this statement, suggesting widespread changes to policies and general disruption had impacted service levels. However, relationships with providers had improved for three quarters (75%) of advisers.

Louise Colley, UK director of retail protection, Zurich, said: “We’ve been engaging with advisers to gather real insight about the challenges they’re facing on the front line, so that we can better support them.  What’s clear is that they are dealing with a whole raft of issues – not least, the pressure from coping with increased demand on their businesses. The upside to this is that protection seems to be very much on people’s radar.

“Our role in supporting advisers and making their lives easier is more important than ever.  This includes a commitment to providing the best service possible and making them and customers aware of all of the additional support they can access through their protection product. Things like Zurich’s Support Services which offers counselling and support with mental health and plus round the clock advice on everything from debt management through to sourcing elder care.”

Paul Shearman, mortgage and protection director, Openwork, added: “The past 12 months have indeed proved challenging for advisers as our businesses have been impacted directly by disruption in the economy, changes to regulation as well as to the products and services we’re supporting customers with – which in turn drives up enquires.

“At the same time, we’re working to reassure customers, with many anxious about their finances as they face job losses or cuts to household income. Concerns about their own health and family members are also driving an increased awareness and need for protection – advisers need to rise to the challenge and ensure they keeping close to their clients, educating them on the protection they may already have and putting into place new cover as needed.”

Professional Paraplanner