Carl Parker is national director of the self-employed division at Just Mortgages
As the old saying goes: “People buy mortgages, but brokers have to sell protection”. It’s easy for clients to get excited about the prospect of owning a new home, and all the possibilities that goes with it, but what would transpire should the worst happen is a much less exciting prospect to consider.
With the rush on properties fuelled in part by the stamp duty holiday, brokers have been swamped by clients and in some cases, conversations around protection have not taken place.
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You would hope that these conversations have just been put on hold, and that now transaction levels are returning close to normal, brokers should be scheduling calls to get back in touch with clients to ensure they are protected.
The statistics suggest there is certainly a lot of work to be done to increase take-up of protection products. A survey from Royal London carried out in 2019 showed 81% of mortgage holders did not take out income protection insurance to protect against loss of income if they fall into ill health.
However, perhaps as a result of the pandemic, more are now interested in protecting against falling ill. Data published by LV in March 2021 found 8.3m (48%) of 25–44 year-olds with no IP cover were interested in taking it out to safeguard their earnings.
The same goes for life assurance, with 40% of this age bracket now considering it.
How to approach clients
So, with more clients interested, how should brokers set about approaching clients? As protection requires an emotional connection and the broker has to lay out a worst-case scenario, these difficult conversations are often best-had in person.
While video conferencing software has definitely been an incredibly useful tool to help brokers to keep in contact with clients while restrictions were in place, it perhaps has contributed to the lack of protection sales.
Making connections with clients can be tricky if you don’t have the full attention of the client. On a Zoom call clients can be distracted by their phone, a TV in the background or just life in general.
Face-to-face contact may mean brokers need to spend more time on the road, but these visits to clients not only ensure they understand the importance of protection, they also help build stronger relationships with the client.
There are some brokers who view protection sales as less important, but the best brokers are those that see it as an opportunity to connect with clients and build-long term relationships.
Those clients who do sadly have to rely on protection, will be incredibly grateful to the broker who advised them to insure themselves. And on the flipside, those who don’t receive such advice, may rightfully start asking questions about whether their broker did enough to inform them of their options.