IRESS has seen income protection sales via The Exchange, its online comparison quote and transaction portal, rise by a record-breaking 50% in Q1 of 2019, compared to the same quarter last year.
During the first three months of 2019, IRESS recorded a 10% year-on-year rise in total protection new business applications, as measured by click-through rates from The Exchange to provider applications. There were 68,941 new business applications in Q1 2019, up from 62,644 over the same period in 2018.
Dave Miller, IRESS executive general manager (commercial), said: “After record-breaking years in 2017 and 2018, the first quarter of 2019 continues to see new highs in protection new business applications.
“The significant growth seen in income protection is fuelled by a wider range of products offered by providers as well as a greater number of advisers selling this line.
“For mortgage protection, market conditions together with further technology and product efficiencies have helped support advisers to increase volumes.
“Historically more new business has been placed between January and March, so we would normally expect to see lower volumes later in the year. However, 2018 bucked that trend across many lines, so we watch with interest to see how the second quarter plays out.”
The first quarter saw growth across all main protection lines. Income protection enjoyed the largest year-on-year increase at 50%, while mortgage protection grew by 17%, multi-benefit cover rose by 15% and term, including critical illness, increased by 6%.
The quarter also saw record-breaking individual months for three lines, with the highest ever new business applications for income protection in March, for mortgage protection also in March and term assurance in January.
Alongside the growth in new business applications in the first quarter of 2019, IRESS also saw a 3.5% rise in the number of firms writing protection, compared to Q1 2018.