One in four advisers pass protection business to a specialist, up from one in seven last year, according to The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries’ (AMI) second annual Viewpoint report.
Almost three-fifths (57%) of advisers said protection discussions with clients have increased in the past 12 months, and 42% said their clients are now more open to discussing protection.
As well as this, 40% of 18 to 34-year-olds would consider income protection (IP) as a result of COVID-19 when they would not have before, twice as many as those aged 35 to 54 (19%) and 10 times as likely as over-55s (4%).
An estimated 99% of mortgage advisers said they raise protection with their clients, but two-thirds of consumers did not remember discussing it, up from 53% last year.
The report also found that 55% of mortgage customers who used a broker have never bought protection products from them, with more than a third (37%) saying they do not think they need it.
More than two-fifths (42%) of consumers thought advisers only bring up protection to increase their commission, but 47% overall would change their view if their adviser took more time to talk about it (14%), explained why they felt the discussion was important (20%), or put more emphasis on how protection products could help (19%).
Meanwhile, 52% of consumers think IP is important yet only 7% have it.
Robert Sinclair, chief executive of AMI, said: “As with many reports there are both positives and negatives to draw on, with progress being made in some areas whilst others clearly show that we still have work to do.
“It’s positive that we are seeing consistent messages from consumers again this year, in the sense that we now have a clearer picture of areas that need our attention.
“Too many consumers distrust the motivations of their adviser.
“It’s important for us to have proper dialogue as a sector about how we overcome this – we hope it will be an area of priority for AMI’s Protection Specialists Group in 2022.
“We would like to thank Legal & General and Royal London who have joined us again this year and made it possible to carry out this extensive research, as well as the many advisers who contributed to the report.”
Craig Brown, director of intermediary insurance at Legal & General, added: “There are some real positives to be taken from this – two in five advisers say their customers are more willing to have protection discussions as a result of COVID-19 and more than half have seen protection discussions increase in the past 12 months.
“However, the report also reveals that there is still a disconnect between the messages advisers think they are conveying about protection and what is actually being heard.
“There is already a great deal of support available from providers to help advisers with this challenge – at L&G we have a dedicated ‘market development’ team who are there to help brokers make sure their customers hear about the most appropriate cover at the right price.”