Johnny Timpson's Blog

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On the 21st of October 2019, a year or so on from the implementation of the IDD and 6 weeks before the extension of the SMCR to directly regulated firms, Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA delivered a speech that discussed the ‘Future of Regulation.’ One of his key themes was the need to move to an ‘outcomes-based’ approach in regulation with the rational for this being that consumers are increasingly faced with many more options regarding their finances, which means that they have to make more (and often complex) decisions.

When reading Woolard’s speech I was reminded of two events:

The first being a discussion with wealth, pension and mortgage advisers on why they were increasingly deprioritising the need for financial protection due to growing product complexity. This was a result of the growing product complexity especially in terms of the number of critical illness definitions, the medical terminology and wording used. Plus the presumption that proposers had to be in perfect health to be accepted with clients living with disabilities and those living with and/or beyond medical events unlikely to be able to access cover.

The second being a topic of discussion that I’d regularly had with Dr Marius Barnard over the years on the respective roles of medical and, what Marius termed advisers as, ‘financial doctors.’ Due to experience and training, this is why we should not expect medical doctors to provide financial advice and equally, why we should not over complicate critical illness nor income protection solutions to the extent that financial advisers feel that they require medical training to provide advice on the products.

Given feedback from a number of advisers, this is a state that we are perhaps near and this is why, having worked closely with Dr Marius Barnard on the development of critical illness insurance, I view it as essential that we focus on simplifying product solutions. We need to be reducing the number of conditions where we can whist at the same time making them more relatable and broader in scope, enabling us to continue too, if not improve, the number of claims paid.

While it’s important to ensure this, as well as making products more accessible, we need to provide help at the moments that matter- not just at the claim stage. By providing customers and their families with support services such as RedArc Nurses and Macmillan Cancer Supports Financial Guidance through Scottish Widows Care, we ensure good outcomes for your clients and our policyholders.

Download our interactive sales aid (PDF 2MB) which details how we’ve simplified our Critical Illness Cover to meet these market needs. 

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