Category Archives: Blog

10 May, 2019

A Chat With… Our Business Development Consultants, Laura Hassall and Kate Whelan


Read our interview with Laura Hassall and Kate Whelan, Business Development Consultants at Shepherds Friendly, where we talk all things intermediary – including the success of our recent launch on iPipeline, how the Mutual Advantage benefits you and your clients, and some exciting news about award nominations!

It’s been a busy few months since our last newsletter, what’s been going on at the Society during that time?

KW: Towards the end of 2018 we successfully launched our Income Protection on iPipeline’s Assureweb and Solution Builder platforms, giving us a much wider exposure to lots of new companies we haven’t worked with before, as well as strengthening our presence among those who we work with already.

LH: We also had the exciting news that we’ve been nominated for Best Underwriting Team, Best Claims Team and the Above and Beyond Award in the Cover Customer Care Awards! As a mutual society, everything we do is in the interests of our advisers and members, so to be recognised by Cover for these efforts is really pleasing!

And Laura, having been with us for over a year now, how has your role changed since progressing to Business Development Consultant?

LH: Since progressing to Business Development Consultant I’ve certainly taken on more responsibility within the Business Development Team. I’m on the road a lot more than before, some weeks I can be on the road three or four days which is great as I get to meet a lot of the advisers and brokers that use Shepherds Friendly plans currently, as well as meeting with advisers who haven’t yet heard of us and telling them about the Society and the great plans that we offer.

Please could you give a quick reminder of the benefits of our Income Protection & Over 50s Life Insurance plans?

KW: With regards to Income Protection, our main selling point is that we never rate premiums for any reason, regardless of occupation, smoker status or BMI – meaning we offer a ‘buy it now’ price to clients. We cover 70% of income for the employed and self-employed, and offer a range of additional features such as career breaks of between three- and 24-months preventing commission clawback for you, and Working Person’s Benefit, which tops-up a client’s income if they return to work part-time or on restricted duties. We also offer a two-year payment option, alongside our full-term plan.

LH: Our Over 50s Life Insurance plan offers guaranteed acceptance to all clients aged between 50 and 80, regardless of any medical conditions they may have. They can put away between £10 and £50 per month and can have multiple plans with us providing they don’t exceed the £50 maximum amount. With our Golden Charter funeral benefit option, clients can also receive an additional £300 towards the cost of their funeral.

Finally, what added benefits can we offer to advisers that work with us as opposed to other providers?

KW: Our Mutual Advantage offering means that we work with you to help you grow your business, not treating you as just another number that submits business to us. A key part of this is our claims and underwriting approach. We aim to support you before, during and after you submit a case to us – through pre-underwriting enquiries and our 24-hour case turnaround promise, to on-going support and guidance while your client is in claim.

And we are proud to have one of the highest claims paid rates in the Income Protection market, paying out 95.8% of all claims in 2018, proving the Mutual Advantage works for you and your clients.

If you would like to speak to our Business Development Team for any reason, please call 0161 495 6495 or email [email protected], where a member of the Team will be happy to help.

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14 Nov, 2018

A Chat With… National Distribution Manager, Alex Fallowes


We sat down with our National Distribution Manager, Alex Fallowes, to talk about some exciting developments for Shepherds Friendly intermediaries, including the launch of our Income Protection plan on iPipeline, how our claims acceptance rate benefits intermediaries and their clients, and a quick recap of 2018 so far.

Hi Alex, can you tell our advisers more about the exciting news that we are now on a portal?

Yes, Shepherds Friendly is extremely excited to be partnering with iPipeline and our Income Protection Plan is now available on Assureweb. Making our full term and 2-year payment term options available on the portals opens up the plan to a larger demographic of intermediaries, while also raising awareness of the Shepherds Friendly brand to a new range of advisers.

This exciting news comes too at a time when the protection market as a whole is really growing.

That’s true, it’s a great time to look at additional distribution channels as according to the latest Swiss Re Term & Health Watch 2018, sales of new protection policies were up 11.6% in 2017 compared to the previous year.

This is extremely encouraging news, particularly the growing popularity of Income Protection plans, as protection in general has been undersold in the financial advice sector in the past.

With regards to our Income Protection plan, what are the specific features that make our plan attractive to intermediaries?

I personally think we offer a great product for any adviser looking to cover up to 70% of their client’s income. We are competitively priced within the industry, with no loading of premiums based on occupation, smoking status, health conditions or even BMI, up to a maximum of 38. These are just a few of the benefits of our plan and advisers can find out more about our Income Protection plan by clicking here.

Moving on to Shepherds Friendly, what are your thoughts on how 2018 has gone for the Society so far?

2018 has already been a year to remember for us. We’ve continued to build on the last three years of continued new business growth, diversifying our intermediary relationships, and attending a host of network events provided by The Right Mortgage and Protection Network and Paradigm.

We are also continuing to build on our strategy of the Mutual Advantage¸ where we aim to support and work with our advisers to provide them with a unique and personal service, which in turn can offer clear advantages when trying to grow their client base and ultimately sales.

And finally, let’s touch on an important subject for both advisers and their clients: claims

Whether or not a client’s claim is likely to be accepted is obviously an important factor in choosing a provider, which is why we were delighted that our claims accepted rate for 2017 was 96%. This is fantastic news for intermediaries and Shepherds Friendly members, as it provides reassurance that a client’s income will be protected when they need it the most.

This supports the statistics released by the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) which revealed that nine of its members that offer Income Protection plans paid out over £22m in claims to 4,950 policyholders in 2017, making up 93.7% of claims received. This is compared to the figure of 84.7% for Income Protection written by mutuals that was reported by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in 2016* and shows that mutuals are leading the way when it comes to paying members’ claims.

Thank you to Alex for taking the time to chat to us, it is a really positive time for Shepherds Friendly and all our intermediaries, so we hope you enjoyed reading the interview!

To find out more about our Defaqto 5 Star Rated Income Protection and Over 50s Life Insurance, and range of adult and children’s savings, please click here.

Source: *Association of Financial Mutuals (Mutuals pay 94% of claims in 2017)

16 Nov, 2017

Income Protection plans save UK taxpayers around £460 million a year and contribute to NHS savings


With over 93% of UK workers¹ having no income protection cover in place, there is still a considerable potential for increasing business in this marketplace. A recent survey has been carried out by the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) and OAC, a leading actuarial and financial services consultancy. It suggests that income protection plans are already believed to save UK taxpayers around £460 million every yearᵌ; money that can go back into the economy and help reduce the pressure on the NHS.

It is believed that people are four times more likely to have pet insurance than Income Protection Insurance¹ and that 2 in 5 people had no more than £1,000 in cash savings to fall back on, should they face an extended absence from work due to illness or injury¹.

A 2016 survey showed that 1 in 5 workers need to take over three months off work due to illness or injury during their working life².

With financial pressures on the NHS causing greater concern year on year, the AFM and OAC study has indicated that income protection plans, provided by the mutual sector, help reduce welfare state pay-outs and save UK taxpayers a considerable sum that also helps ease the growing pressure on the NHS.

Before the introduction of the NHS and the welfare state, mutuals such as the Shepherds Friendly Society were often the only way a working person could expect to receive help in their old age or if they suffered ill health.

It’s a fact that life expectancy has increased dramatically in recent decades; however so too has the prevalence of illness, meaning that the cost of delivering healthcare is escalating at a worrying pace.  In addition, when people are off work due to sickness or accident, the cost of welfare provided by the state also increases, and national productivity levels fall.

The role played by income protection plans provided by mutuals was the subject of the AFM and OAC study and highlighted a number of ways in which such plans help reduce state pay-outs, save money which can go back into the welfare state and support people in getting back to work sooner.

The total cash payments to holders of income protection plans provided by mutuals reached £54.1 millionᵌ in 2016. This is an invaluable injection of cash to help replace lost wages at a time when people are away from work due to illness or injury.

The survey also indicated that those holding an income protection plan received more in benefits from their planᵌ than they might have expected to receive from either their employer or the welfare state. This would suggest that investing in income protection makes a good deal of sense for most working people.

Who can open an Income Protection plan?

Anyone from age 16 who is a UK resident and has been registered with a UK medical practice for at least three years can apply for a Shepherds Friendly Income Protection Plan. They can enquire no matter what their profession and whether they are employed or self-employed. Cover can start from as little as £5 a month* and needs to last for at least five years (our minimum term).

If they are employed, they can choose to cover up to a maximum of 70% of their regular gross income. If they are self-employed, they can cover up to 70% of their net profit.

A concern some workers seem to have with income protection is over how confident they can be about receiving benefits when they come to make a claim. In the case of Shepherds Friendly, our claim payment rate is over 97% so that they can choose us with confidence!

So, it is well worth taking a closer look to see how you can grab a share of this potential major growth market, safe in the knowledge that every new piece of business could be saving tax payers money and contributing to savings in the cost of the NHS.

*18-year-old with a waiting period of one day, £376 of cover, premium of £5.00 a month.

All references to taxation are to UK taxation and are based on Shepherds Friendly Society’s understanding of current legislation and H M Revenue and Customs practice which may change in the future. Investment growth is by means of bonuses, the amount of which cannot be guaranteed throughout the term of the contract. Please ensure that you read the full terms and conditions of this plan which are available from your financial adviser or by contacting us directly.

 

Sources

  1. Wealth and Protection Survey from Drewberry Insurance
  2. Personal Finance Survey from Drewberry Insurance
  3. Association of Financial Mutuals – The mutual sector’s contribution to savings in the NHS, the Welfare State, and to employers and individuals