A Chat With… National Distribution Manager, Alex Fallowes
14 Nov, 2018
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!
Source: *Association of Financial Mutuals (Mutuals pay 94% of claims in 2017)