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May 2020 | Protection

Jeff Woods: The best and the worst of times

Jeff Woods is campaigns and propositions director at Sesame Bankhall Group

Although the phrase ‘living in unprecedented times’ has been overused, it is unfortunately true.

Another common phrase is that a crisis brings out the best and worst in people. Fortunately for me, I’m seeing mostly the best. I feel proud of our industry, just as I am of our NHS and front-line workers of all types.

Elsewhere, we have Captain Tom Moore raising over £29m for the NHS. It isn’t just that he’s captured so many people’s imagination, it’s also the gratitude that’s being shown via Captain Tom to the NHS.

NAMING AND SHAMING

Closer to home, we’ve unfortunately also seen the worst, with some lead generation companies and even so-called adviser firms looking to profiteer from people’s vulnerability. It’s despicable, and we should all work hard to eradicate them by naming and shaming when we can.

I applaud the Protection Distributors Group (PDG) for its efforts, and the commitment from providers such as AIG to hunt them down with the #keepprotectiontidy initiative. If you see anything that isn’t right, then let them know.

In terms of the best of people in this industry, praise has to be given to the commitment so many companies have made – intermediaries, providers and suppliers – to first and foremost make sure their own people were safe by moving to remote working, whilst continuing to serve customers.

Whilst there have been varying levels of success, which isn’t surprising given the variety of companies we’re talking about, what’s undeniable is the huge commitment that’s been made to make all this happen.

We have also seen collaboration like never before from organisations across the industry, such as the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), PDG, the Income Protection Task Force (IPTF), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and product providers. This has all been focused on ensuring the customer gets the best possible outcome from a very difficult situation.

Out of this crisis we’re seeing innovation, especially when it comes to underwriting, around how we gain sufficient evidence to offer terms in order to give greater access to those that need it most.

And, of course, the great British adviser is showing true resilience in the face of adversity and will, as in 2008, emerge stronger and better equipped.

Every single one of us is living through an event that makes us realise how much we rely on our income or our partner’s.

It reinforces why it’s so important for customers to have access to the best possible advice, so they understand how they can make themselves more financially resilient when things do not go to plan. They’re probably sitting at home right now, so why not phone them for a chat?