There has been a massive increase in willingness among consumers to talk to financial advisers about protection as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, research suggests.
A poll for Guardian, the life office, shows that 75% of advisers say there has been an uptick in how prepared people are to talk about their protection needs.
The poll of 410 advisers also shows that 83% of advisers who “didn’t always talk about protection” are now discussing it more “frequently”.
Almost two-fifths (38%) have seen an uplift in protection enquiries from new clients, while 67% think protection sales will grow as their firms seek to counter lost income.
A similar number (66%) said they are looking for new ways to make income as they expect overall revenue to fall due to coronavirus.
Guardian CEO Katya MacLean said that coronavirus has changed “so much of what we used to call normal”.
She said: “It’s made us pause for thought and realise what’s really important in life. So it’s not surprising that advisers are reporting an increase in client willingness to talk about the ‘what if’s’.
“Those advisers who didn’t always talk to their clients about protection say they’re now discussing it more frequently, and many are also experiencing a rise in proactive protection enquiries.”
MacLean said that it was well-known that before the pandemic, some advisers found it hard to talk to their clients about their own mortality and morbidity.
But she said: “For the short-term at least, we’re seeing a change in consumer appetite to have this tough, but necessary, conversation.
“This change, in these unprecedented circumstances, gives advisers an opportunity to show clients the benefit of their advice – which, in turn, should help more people get the cover they need.”
Cavendish Ware Associate Director Roy McLoughlin said the findings echoed with conversations he has been having with other advsiers.
He said: “The virus has pushed protection insurance higher up the agenda for many clients.
“I am seeing this personally within my own business and am hearing the same during discussions at the Protection Distributors’ Group.”