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Income Protection cannot take an umbrella approach

Posted on 16 Aug, 22 by BrightRock

Income Protection cannot take an umbrella approach

As a financial adviser, you can play an invaluable role to help ensure financial sustainability for your client, through a needs-matched product that is unique to them. But how much Income Protection cover is enough, and how should it pay out?

Current financial analysis tools consider a client’s current income, expected annual inflation and the time that they still have left before they retire, to determine a suitable lump sum amount that represents the present value of the client’s financial need for the remainder of their working life. Capital Disability cover that pays out a single lump sum amount is still the most widely sold solution in the market for income protection needs. However, structuring this cover to meet the client’s needs at the claim stage is not as simple as it may seem.

Finding the balance

Lump Sum products are not always suited to the client’s actual needs, especially as the client’s needs may change over time. In the case of a client becoming permanently disabled without any impact on their life expectancy, they will face the very real prospect of not having enough money for the full duration of what would have been their income-earning years, if they can’t invest this once-off payment to generate the income that they need. If the lump sum amount falls short or investment returns are unfavourable due to adverse market conditions, this could mean years or even decades without enough to live on.

Lump Sum cover also generally contains significant premium waste, as it is structured to keep growing at a set rate for a set period, even though clients’ income needs until they retire decrease in line with the number of pay cheques that they still expect to receive. While the lump sum suggested by the Financial Needs Analysis (FNA) tool is accurate at the time of purchase, after a period of time, it simply does not match the needs of a client

Lump Sum cover also groups various insurance needs into a single cover amount, not taking into account the fact that the underlying needs being covered are different and exist for differing terms. For example, a lump sum will be in place until a client is 65, but some of the needs it covers – such as a mortgage bond or children’s educational costs – would exist for a far shorter period. Because of this, clients end up paying more from day one for cover they don’t need for nearly as long. The cost of insurance can be significantly decreased, if each need is covered appropriately for the correct term.

Insurance isn’t a one size fits all product

Everyone has different circumstances that are distinct from the next person. Their lives, needs and the people they love and want to protect all vary.

This is why financial advisers play such a crucial role in helping to advise clients. The ideal situation is to have insurance products that are designed to empower a client and financial adviser, that can enable the co-creation of the most suitable money solutions to suit the specific needs and horizons of each individual.

Getting cover right

Our industry needs to develop more sophisticated quoting systems, analysis tools and risk protection solutions that can not only calculate a lump sum, but can ensure that a client correctly allocates their Income Protection cover to the different needs that are important to them.

Just as clients allocate their monthly income to different financial needs within a manageable household budget, they should be able to cover their childcare needs, debt repayments and general household expenses through a sophisticated Income Protection solution.

A client should, with the help of their financial adviser, be able to control when and for how long they require cover for certain needs. By determining the appropriate periods that cover is required for, advisers can help clients remove waste, making cover affordable, while ensuring that clients’ needs are taken care of, at the right time.

This article was originally published on page 93 in the FAnews August 2022 Edition and is attributed to Sean Hanlon, BrightRock Executive Director: Sales and DistributionClick here to read the original version.

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