Although much of the coverage around the Seven Families campaign to promote income protection focuses on the individual market, it also provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of group income protection policies with employers.
The first three recipients of the campaign, which launched in November, have been announced in the Mail On Sunday, The Independent and The Express and there has been a significant amount of positive coverage over social media and in the trade and personal finance press.
The campaign is led by charity Disability Rights UK (DRUK) and the Seven Families action group chaired by Peter Le Beau. has been around individual IP. To find the recipients DRUK has been asked to find seven families where the main breadwinner has been forced out of work by an accident or illness and not had any insurance pay out. The recipients then receive an income for a year as if they had originally bought an IP plan, paid for collectively by the group of insurers supporting the campaign, which includes Canada Life, Unum and Ellipse. The money is given on a charitable basis, but paid monthly to replicate what would have happened if they had cover in place originally.
Simon Read, personal finance editor of The Independent, acknowledged this achievement of unity when recently he wrote: “Together we can help turn the initiative into something profound that could make a real difference to people’s lives. Let’s not forget that it is probably the first time so many major insurers have worked together for a common purpose and got widespread support for doing so.”
Another key element underpinning the initiative is that families will also be provided with access to vital rehabilitation and financial advice, which could help individuals get back to work.
The tools and content developed as part of the process can be used by advisers as independent material to introduce the subject of protection into the conversation and to help persuade clients of its importance. It is hoped that the industry will see an increase in public awareness that drives an increase in consumer interest. You can read more at www.7families.co.uk.
We know that some advisers don’t like talking about protection – whether on the group or on the individual side – and likewise many customers aren’t overly excited either. However, if the campaign can give advisers a better way of raising the issues, as well as helping to raise consumer awareness, then it will be an achievement.
For example, the recipients of the campaign are typical of the kinds of people across the country who find themselves in financial trouble because they are too ill to work, yet would have received some cover if their employer had offered a group IP policy. This does depend on salary of course as certain higher levels of sums assured may lead to underwriting and therefore possible health exclusions, but for many recipients that would not be an issue.
In fact, we already know a few advisers who are using the concept of Seven Families, supported by press coverage, to talk about protection with their clients now.
For many people income protection should lie at the very heart of holistic financial advice. The false assumption that the state will look after the majority in the event of long-term illness can be solved with comprehensive advice. The awareness this campaign will undoubtedly bring should be welcomed by advisers.
The money isn’t the only thing 7F brings to the table – each family will also have the opportunity to benefit from rehabilitation and counselling services typically associated with IP.
The families will be from a range of backgrounds and locations, as well as representing a range of different illnesses and accidents. In addition their previous financial situation will be taken into account to ensure that any potential impact on state benefits is minimal. DRUK and the action group are working on confirming the last four families over the coming weeks.
The aim of the campaign is essentially about public and employer awareness although it is also relevant to the adviser community and wider protection industry. The boost in the profile of income protection should greatly benefit advisers in their conversations with clients and employers.