April 2020 | Protection

Jeff Woods: How to stay ahead in changing times

Jeff Woods is campaigns and propositions director at Sesame Bankhall Group

As I write this on 25 March, world events are changing by the hour as further announcements are made and new developments emerge.

What the position will look like by the time you read this is anyone’s guess.

These are unusual times, when we can only ponder what things will change, and indeed, what we can count on to remain the same. I think these events could change our working practices for ever.

Meanwhile, many advisers are still adjusting to working remotely, whilst also working hard to ensure they keep writing compliant business in the current evolving climate.

We must find ways to support them in this transition, particularly those advisers who are not used to working remotely. From a consumer perspective, one of the thoughts that struck me is that people often react to a trigger event, such as serious illness or the death of someone close to them, as a reason to seek protection insurance.

This is human nature and perfectly understandable, but what’s unprecedented is that everyone is going through a similar series of emotions at the same time.

I believe that the outputs of this will have significant implications. The only thing we’re unsure of is precisely what that will be.

At times like this we are likely to see the best and the worst of our industry. All we can do as good professionals is to act responsibly and stick to the principles and behaviours of best practice developed over many years. And if you hear or see any practices elsewhere that do not meet the required standards then report them immediately to the regulator.

It’s also important that we engage with our customers through this challenging period. It’s an opportunity to provide reassurance and keep them informed. Importantly, it will also help to manage any nervous clients who are at risk of making rash decisions, such as cancelling their policies and losing the valuable cover they have in place.    

Don’t forget that there’s lots of information and support available from distributors and insurers to help you. The COVID-19 support hub launched by Sesame in March for the adviser community is one such contribution.