This month, Which? Money magazine reveals findings from a new study into financial products for the over-50s. Its analysis of 55 financial products found “some are a rip-off” and “over-50s life insurance plans usually offer poor value”. Given we’re active in this sector, you might imagine we kept our head down when the findings emerged in the national media. Quite the opposite: we welcomed them and publicised our support.
This new study shines a light on two of our sector's most open secrets: unfair and inflexible products. In my mind it’s well-deserved, and I hope it goes some way to disturb a market that we are also determined to shake up, because it is in urgent need of repair.
It’s time for over-50s life cover providers to clean up their act, and in a bid to tackle criticisms levelled at the sector we are designing products to challenge current market failings. Protected Payout feature is an example of our work in this space - something Which? recognised in its analysis.
Meanwhile, we revealed some findings of our own – also in the protection space. Our latest research found that 5.2m mortgage-holders who earn an income have no plan in place to cover their mortgage repayments if they become too ill to earn; and 1.8m admit they have not given it any thought. Furthermore 2.6m don’t know how long they could survive financially if they were too ill to earn; and 1.1m wouldn’t know where to turn for financial advice if they faced this situation.
We conducted this research as we join Seven Families. A charity-led initiative, it aims to raise awareness of an important issue: how people would cope financially if they became too ill to earn money and cover financial commitments like their mortgage.
Our research starkly highlights how many UK mortgage-holders are in a vulnerable position, unsure how they’d cope financially and who they would turn to for financial advice. Earlier this month, we spoke to Share Radio about our findings and urged listeners to consider how they would cope if they became too ill to earn. You can listen to the interview here or read more in the Daily Express which covered our story, and gave readers some useful guidance.
Group CEO, Royal London