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Editor’s View: The B Word

A question of class – and one that this sector can already answer

Later today (630pm perhaps?) we could have an indication of when we may have a new Prime Minister. If not then, soon.

Brexit will claim its inevitable scalp; that was always going to happen, whichever way you spin the bottle.

Here at Health Insurance & Protection, we’ve kept our powder dry on Brexit.

That’s not because we are cowards or have our heads in sand. It’s largely because the majority of brokers and insurers in the space has been reluctant to lay their cards on the table (well, on the record at least). Understandable.

Sure, there has been some intense lobbying in different directions from the sector going on behind the scenes.

But trying to pin down someone on the record about their views has been almost impossible.

What is definitely on the record, though, and what has been highlighted by the Brexit debate, is the misconception that the health insurance and protection industry is only for people from certain neighbourhoods who have deep pockets.

There is no doubt that Brexit has polarised individuals in terms of personal relationships, families and geography – and more significantly, perhaps, in terms of social class.

The trammelled-to-death line of whinging and hand-wringing from the centre left-leaning metropolitan elites and the angry roar of the “left-behinds” have been pretty widely reported, although the London School of Economics seems to have been left off that particular briefing.

Brexit, whatever you think about it, has exposed something that a lot of people in Britain like to brush under the carpet.

And something that, in spite of the best efforts of some twitchy underwriters, the health insurance and protection sector manages to handle it quite well.

In other words, class.

Class, healthcare and money have never been easy bedfellows. A bit like death, us Brits are a bit awkward around that kind of stuff.

But we shouldn’t be, so here goes: Yes, there is eye-wateringly expensive private healthcare on offer; but there are some decent, more affordable options available too.

In any case, what’s wrong with wanting to part with your money for the best healthcare? Should we stop hard-working, successful people from buying Maseratis and make them all drive the same coloured Lada (reliable though they are) instead?

Of course not.

Shoud we stop even the most die-hard Corbynista from jetting off on their backpacking holiday around Venezuela?

I really hope that I don’t I have to read that particular blog but they shouldn’t be stopped from doing it In any case.

And would you rather people spend their money not on healthcare but on something else instead? Over-priced “artisan” food in Islington perhaps? Pornography? A loft extension?

Not anyone’s business. It’s up to them.

There is nothing wrong with excellent healthcare being produced and delivered by the private sector – often to the benefit of NHS-funded patients. And it should be something that a post-Brexit global Britain should be proud of; we should, and will, sell outstanding healthcare around the world.

And what about protection? That’s hardly for toffs, is it? A bit of life cover isn’t going to break the bank of most working people – but it could save their family from financial and domestic ruin.

Income protection? Yes, too expensive for many. But also very useful for those that can afford it. And there are – although the purists might disapprove – shorter term, more affordable propositions available. There should be more.

Group protection? Workers up and down the country are very often covered for illness and death without even realising it (until they get sick or die, when the penny drops and the family is handed a lifeline). Group protection is something that should get far more airtime than it does – and trade body GRiD is making good inroads in that direction.

Cash plans? Yes, a long, proud history of supporting blue collar workers – indeed any collar workers.

Whatever happens or doesn’t happen at 630pm tonight, the health insurance and protection sector has no need to panic. Yes, everyone is running around like their hair is on fire – I’m filing this a stone’s throw from a chaotic and manic Whitehall – but Britain is in pretty good shape.

Even the Guardian says so. Its monthly tracker of economic news showed employment reaching the highest levels on record and consumers continuing to spend on the high street, even as Britain’s departure from the EU comes into focus. Yes, all that, “despite” Brexit.

Now is not the time to panic. Brexit Derangement Syndrome is for the birds. Now is the time for a stiff upper lip, some good old-fashioned British resolve – safe in the knowledge that this is a sector primed to meet the demands of all parts of society in the years ahead.

Now is the time to go for it.