Life & Health Insurance MARKET INSIGHT REPORT 2017 Q3

November 2017



Assured Futures is delighted to share some exciting growth plans with our partners and friends.

2017 has been an excellent year for us- we have seen unprecedented lead levels, previously unseen and these lead levels haven’t been hugely reduced by seasonality as we would usually expect. In order to respond to these lead levels, we have increased our workforce by 60% over the last 12 months and we are now at capacity in our current office in the centre of Cheltenham.

The last few months have seen us research our options for growth and expansion which has seen us consider larger premises in Cheltenham amongst other possibilities. However, with ambitious growth plans for the next few years ahead, we want to put ourselves in the best possible position to deliver the best return for our partners. A second office will bring us greater flexibility and will strengthen our business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

We have therefore made the decision to choose Cardiff as our second city of choice and we will be opening an office on a trial basis in the city on 1 November 2017.

Why Cardiff?

The whole team are incredibly excited to be part of this next ambitious chapter in the Assured Futures journey and we look forward to sharing updates with you all along the way.




MSM Confused Go Compare CTM Assured Futures
Lowest price £26.64 Realm £20.80 Fortify £20.80 Fortify £20.70 Realm £20.70 Realm
2nd Lowest price £25.90 Payment Care £23.40 £23.40 £25.70 Paymentcare £25.70 Paymentcare
3rd Lowest price £27.08 Realm £25.96 Realm £25.96 Realm £26.56 Assurity £26.56 Assurity
Number of insurers 6 7 7 10 11

Income protection, covering £1,000 per month, for 12 months, for accident, sickness and unemployment with a 30 day excess for an employed 30 year old male, earning £40k per year living in GL52.

MSM Confused Go Compare CTM Assured Futures
Basic cover £26.63 Health-on-line £12.50 WPA £12.50 WPA £12.50 WPA £12.50 WPA
Mid-range Cover £34.79 Health-on-line £28.36 General & Medical £28.36 General & Medical £25.98 General & Medical £25.98 General & Medical
Fully Comprehensive Cover £49.01 Vitality £41.75 Vitality £41.75 Vitality £42.64 General & Medical £42.64 General & Medical
Number of insurers 7 10 10 13 13

PMI prices based on 30 year old male, non-smoker living in GL52, with an excess of £250.

MSM Confused Go Compare CTM Assured Futures
Lowest price £7.64 LV= £7.82 Beagle Street £7.45 LV= £7.45 LV= £7.69 LV=
2nd lowest price £7.86 Beagle Street £7.84 LV= £7.60 Beagle Street £7.46 Beagle Street £8.01 Vitality
3rd lowest price £8.02 Budget Insurance £8.04 Legal & General £7.74 Legal & General £7.54 Budget Insurance £8.12 AIG
Number of insurers 11 8 8 10 10

Life (Term) prices based on 30 year old male, non-smoker, living in GL52, covering £200,000, over 20 years with a fixed premium.

MSM Confused Go Compare CTM Assured Futures
Lowest price N/A N/A N/A N/A £12.72 Zurich
2nd lowest price N/A N/A N/A N/A £14.08 AIG
3rd lowest price N/A N/A N/A N/A £14.25 Aegon
Number of insurers N/A N/A N/A N/A 9

Life (WOL) prices based on 45 year old male, non-smoker, living in GL52, covering £10,000.

MSM Confused Go Compare CTM Assured Futures
Highest cover N/A £5,605 One Family £5,217 Shepherds Friendly £5,605 One Family £5,605 One Family
2nd hightest cover N/A £5,502 Shepherds Friendly £5,010 AIG £5,502 Shepherds Friendly £5,502 Shepherds Friendly
3rd highest cover N/A £5,277 AIG £4,754 L&G £5,337 Assurity £5,337 Assurity
Number of insurers 0 5 4 9 9

Over 50s prices based on 60 year old male, non-smoker, living in GL52 choosing a premium of £20 per month with a 24 month wait period.

Critical Illness Cover: Not waving but drowning?

Ian Sawyer recently wrote an apparently controversial article, published in Cover suggesting that Critical Illness (CI) cover should be marginalised or even removed as a product. His beef with CI? It’s simply not fit for purpose. Aside from the fact that it’s very confusing in that it’s condition specific – and now also severity specific - evidence suggests that the majority of all CI payments go towards replacing lost income. People rarely need a lump sum it seems. Yet CI is all too often favoured – particularly in the mortgage industry - over the arguably more suited Income Protection (IP), which does cover lost income and is condition agnostic.

The way that products are structured doesn’t help. The default for mortgage brokers seems to be Life with CI, because it’s convenient and therefore arguably an easier sell. Why can’t the industry come up with a Life with IP option? Providers would argue that this is already possible via menu products but they simply don’t cut the mustard. Whilst flexibility is all well and good, more options also equate to more complexity. In order to ensure that the right product is sold more often, we need a Life and IP hybrid product.

It seems Ian’s is not a lone voice on some, or all, of these views. We spoke with various providers and brokers, following the article in Cover, to gain their expert views and opinions.

CI: Still fit for purpose?

Chris McNab, Head of Protection Propositions at LV=, commented that the introduction of partial payouts on CI cover is precipitating a shift away from the product’s original lump sum intentions. “With advances in medical science, we are seeing the rise in severity based payments across the industry for CI, which has resulted in smaller partial payouts.

“This means that the payout a policyholder gets might not necessarily be a big enough lump sum, for example to clear the mortgage debt, and therefore some may result in using it to pay everyday bills.”

McNab suggests that the industry should be exploring ways to increase take up of IP – and protection products generally – by offering customers something that is more tailored to their individual circumstances. “There is a place for a more integrated Life and IP solution to broaden the appeal of this protection product. For example, this could be something like a mortgage payment protection plan that covers both mortgage payments - as opposed to ‘income’ - and Life. If this were integrated into the mortgage advice process this could raise awareness of the product and ensure strong take-up.”

IP: A question of priority

Nick Telfer, Product & Marketing Director at British Friendly, says that in an ideal scenario, the customer should have Life, CI and IP. “But the recommendation should start with the most immediate risk that the customer faces which is inability to work due to an illness”.

He thinks the problem is that the protection industry is starting the discussion from the wrong place. “Trying to move a conversation about Life cover at, say £8 per month onto one about Income Protection, which could add another £30 - £40 a month, tests the client’s budget.

“Isn’t it better to ski downhill and start with the most immediate risk?” he asks. “We should start with Income Protection and then add Life cover – alongside CI if appropriate. A far easier upsell than the other way around and, most importantly, a better-protected customer.”

Protection plan design: rethink required

Alan Lakey, Director of CIExpert, says that the problem is one of plan design. “I have argued for years that CI plans are poorly designed, but the restrictive terms of IP plans makes it very difficult to promote with any certainty that acceptable terms will be offered.”

He refers to issues such as age limits (age 70 for IP, up to 85 for CI) and financial limits (50% - 70% of provable pre sickness income for IP, none on CI within reason).

Roy Mcloughlin, Associate Director of Cavendish Ware, agrees that underwriting is the main thorn in the side of IP. He suggests that product design, more than consumer apathy or incorrect advice, has led to more people taking out CI than IP. “It’s the industry’s fault, not the fault of consumers. Back issues and stress represent the biggest cause of absence yet they’re not covered by IP and neither are they critical illnesses.

Education and collaboration

Meanwhile, Jennifer Gilchrist, Proposition Lead at Royal London, thinks the industry should be focusing on raising awareness of the need for protection. “I think the biggest problem the industry faces is getting people to realise they need protection – especially women – and encouraging the take-up of cover with the result being the reduction in the protection gap/greater financial resilience,” she adds. “A proper increase in the size of the market would be welcome too after it has stagnated for so long.”

Lakey suggests the Government could help here. “If it [the Government] offered tax relief at source, harmonising IP with pensions then it would assist the take up. Most consumers are unaware that the benefits are tax free so there is no downside to this.”

McNab concludes that a concerted effort by the industry to work together would go a long way towards improving IP sales. “With traditional IP sales already low, there would need to be a strong collaboration across the industry and investment in technology to ensure this is a success, and make the process as simple as possible for both advisers and clients.”

Whatever the opinion, it’s clear that the industry needs a radical re-think and there is much to do. We at Assured Futures will continue to push for this and will continue to look at the industry to build better life and income protection products that better serve the needs of the customer.

GDPR- the final countdown

Times are changing and we’ve all got a responsibility to ensure that we comply with the requirements of the GDPR which comes into force in May 2018. As pointed out in the Telegraph article from June this year, “data is power, and the European Union wants to give consumers access to that power.” Those who thought that Britain’s exit from the European Union would give us all a break clause to hang on to, will be very disappointed as the UK Government has stated that they will adopt a similar framework. So how do we prepare for this in the protection industry and what do we need to do?

We’ve had over 2 years to prepare for its introduction and the consensus in much of the press is that the majority of businesses aren’t ready. The price of not being prepared is high- companies now face fines of up to 4% of annual turnover or €20million, whichever is greater. We’ve known that the changes were coming but time really is ticking now and with this in mind, we’ve put together a handy guide of what it all means for the protection industry.

What are the main changes?

The main data principles that were set out in the DPA remain but have been condensed into 6 rather than the 8 principles. The GDPR states that all data must:

GDPR Regulation Actions needed
Ensure organisation is compliant by 25 May 2018 Train all staff to understand requirements, identify key risks, ensure key decision makers understand the implications and needs. Priortise the risks.
Organisations have just 72 hours to disclose a breach in personal data Ensure processes in place so staff know who is responsible. Ensure mechanics in place to detect these breaches as quickly as possible.
Clients can request that their personal data is transferred from one organisation to a competitor. The data needs to be provided in a common format that can be easily identified and shared.
If necessary, appoint at DPO. Create a culture of accountability- involve everyone so that it is expected that everyone monitors, reviews and assesses at all times.
Organisations must prove that the key data they hold on their clients has been obtained in accordance with the lawful basis for processing. Carry out an audit- what data does the organisation have? Where is it stored? How has it been collected?

For those who play down the impact of GDPR on business or who fail to grasp its enormity, data is already being published that shows the path that it is going to take businesses and consumers down. In a survey of 2,000 people in the UK carried out by SAS, 48% plan to activate new rights over their personal data. Further statistics released and published by Health Insurance Daily in July 2017 shows that “33% will request for their data to be removed when the laws come into effect.”

Looking at what even the most harden optimist would deem to be daunting, it’s easy to just see GDPR as a challenge, and it is, but it also presents opportunities too. It’s widely accepted that those companies who react the quickest to the demands of the GDPR and who tackle its requirements through innovation will gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. There can be no doubt that the organisations that make a success of GDPR will be those that look at it from a whole company view whilst also taking a very customer centric approach.

At Assured Futures, we’re working closely with our partners to ensure that we deliver- we’ve worked (and continue to work) with external consultancies, we’ve attended countless seminars and undertaken research after research so that we are being proactive in ensuring that we are ready and ready on time. With final requirements to be released in December, we know that we need to be set up to finalise things in the New Year, so that we are ready once the green light goes on.

Comment by Ian Sawyer- Managing Director, Assured Futures.

GDPR presents us all with a great opportunity to purge old data and to review and cleanse our procedures. All good firms will embrace this opportunity despite the costs and efforts. I just hope that the ICO matches this investment of time and money in policing those who flaunt the current regulations such as marketing firms who churn old data, cold call and text us endlessly, ambulance chasers and non-regulated lead generators who drive up acquisition costs.

CUSTOMER CASE STUDY: The benefits of a broker- knowledge is power?


The client contacted us after received his renewals paperwork- his premium had substantially increased and he was concerned. He needed our help and wanted to understand his options.



"As a broker, we aren’t just there for the customer when they take out a new policy- we are there for them at every step of the journey which includes helping them when it’s time to renew their policies. This particular case highlights how far our knowledge and expertise can get clients- if this client had bought their policy directly with the insurer, their lack of knowledge about the NCD would have resulted in him either having to pay a much greater premium or potentially letting the protection lapse.”
Richard Harris, Customer Care Team Manager



Ian Sawyer
Managing Director
Leighton Phillips
Head of Commercial
Linsey Sutton
Life Insurance Team Manager
Martin Hedicker
Medical Insurance and Income Protection Team Manager
Rebecca Fludder
Relationship Manager


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Please note the above represents the views of the authors only and does not constitute insurance advice. Assured Futures Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Assured Futures, Ellenborough House, Wellington Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1AP, 01242 537 082. Registration number: 3040737. Infographic Icons made by Freepik from is licensed under CC BY 3.0