Brokers urged to boost their businesses through protection sales

Younger customers understand the importance of insurance, expert says

Brokers urged to boost their businesses through protection sales

Mortgage brokers need to fully embrace protection if they want to increase business, to meet the demand of younger customers who believe it is important to protect their incomes.

That’s according to Victoria Clark (pictured), who is proposition manager at Cirencester Friendly, a mutual that specialises in income protection needs.

Recent research, Clark said, showed a lack of broker activity online around protection, including their social media.

“Only just over half have a protection section on their website and only a quarter do any kind of social posts on protection,” she told Mortgage Introducer. “This must change if brokers want to increase sales. The same survey found Gen Z and Millennials thought it was more important to protect their income than older generations. To meet this demand, brokers must more effectively use the channels where this audience is likely to be.”

Clark believes a good adviser is ‘invaluable’, especially in the current market, where there’s a proliferation of different products, which can seem overwhelming.

“They will get to know their client, their life, their family and what they want to achieve,” she said. “This personal connection, in my opinion, is vital. Only by knowing all this, is it really possible to put in place the most suitable cover.”

How are protection sales faring?

2024 has been good so far for Cirencester, with sales up, and – in Clark’s view – its messages gaining more traction, but the business still has a way to go to get to where it wants to be.

“We need to change perceptions around income protection,” she stated. “While people are more than happy to grab a coffee a few times a week, they are very reluctant to commit the same amount of money these cost to protect their income. We need to get this message across. Similarly, we need to do more to reach single people who arguably have the most to gain from protecting their income as they have no partner to fall back on as a safely net and could lose everything.”

Clark further explained that income protection is a product that many of her peers are not familiar with.

“I often have to explain what it is,” she shared. “Working at Cirencester has shown me just how valuable and life-changing it can be when people really need help. Using claimants’ experiences to illustrate what we do really helps bring our work to life and change perceptions. I enjoy the challenge of engaging people with insurance and making it relevant to their everyday lives.

“After the strong start we’ve seen to 2024 so far, I hope the protection market continues to thrive. The signs are promising, but we need to capitalise on the momentum that has been gained. I also hope there will be no more mergers and acquisitions. More stability will not only help the market but provide people with a wider choice so they can find the product that best suits their needs.

“Income protection is a complex product with lots of different variables. It is designed to be tailored to the needs of the individual, but establishing what you need can be far from simple.”

READ MORE: TMA Club adds Cirencester Friendly to protection panel

What property issues should politicians address in the General Election?

With the General Election just over three weeks away, Clark hopes that our prospective parliamentary candidates take the needs of younger people into account.

“The average age of a first-time buyer is now well over 30 and people are living with their parents longer and longer,” she explained. “I think politicians need to consider how they can do more to help younger people get on the housing ladder to energise the mortgage market.”

Clark joined Cirencester Friendly in 2016, considering it the first place where she could build a career, and joined its marketing team two years later. So, what’s the best business lesson she has learned to date?

“Firstly, if you don’t believe in an idea, no one else will either,” Clark said. “People can sense when you are not being authentic. Also, if you don’t try and get out your comfort zone, you don’t know what opportunity you’re missing. This is exactly why I took this role. I loved my time in marketing, but this was too good a chance to miss.”