General Insurance Article - Ageas Protect launches action plan for EC Gender Directive

 Ageas Protect has issued a six step action plan to help financial intermediaries and IFAs increase customer awareness of the impact on premiums of the EC Gender Directive, increasingly known as ‘G-day', coming into effect on 21 December 2012.
 Ageas Protect is suggesting advisers contact customers who may be adversely affected by the introduction of gender neutral pricing to review their cover requirements before the legislation comes into effect, and is supplying business tools to support the process. Industry experts have predicted the cost of female life and critical illness cover could increase by as much as 15%1 while income protection cover for men could rise by 40% to match the amount currently paid by females.
 The bite-size plan encourages protection advisers, intermediaries and IFAs to follow six steps to prepare for gender neutral pricing, using the period between now and ‘G-day' to improve customer awareness of their protection needs. The steps include:
 1.Create a plan for new business and outstanding applications - identify and plan the short-term opportunities to get people - who could face higher rates after 21st December - on cover before 23:59 on 20th December and consider what will happen to applications that will be in the new business pipeline in December.
 2.Contact existing customers - whether a single or joint-policy, contact existing customers who may be adversely affected to ensure that their existing and future protection requirements are being met now.
 3.Contact local businesses - there is an opportunity for intermediaries to look beyond their existing customer base and target businesses in their local vicinity to see how they can help their employees understand the impact of the changes.
 4.Maximise coverage - Ageas Protect has suggested intermediaries could talk to clients and ensure customers who may be adversely affected aim for the most sum assured and financial protection they can afford to buy (subject to suitability and need), to avoid needing additional cover post legislation, when pricing is potentially higher.
 5.Tell introducers about the changes - Ageas Protection has suggested intermediaries make sure their existing introducers are fully aware of what gender neutral pricing could mean for customers. The introducer is then able to recommend its customers speak to the intermediary to find out more should they need more detail or wish to update their protection coverage.
 6.Lapse management - Customers who have allowed their existing policies to lapse may not realise what they are giving up and the costs they may incur in the future, so it is important intermediaries highlight this to customers who have lapsed their policies.
 This latest communication from Ageas Protect forms part of an ongoing effort to support advisers when preparing for the impact of the major legislative issues including the EC Gender Directive and I-E Tax regime changes, due to come into effect at the end of this year and beginning of 2013 respectively. The pack, hosted on the Ageas Protect Technical Area platform launched in April, includes letter templates which intermediaries can personalise to their business and forward to their clients.
 Commenting on this latest initiative, Andy Milburn, Head of Marketing at Ageas Protect, said: "Protection intermediaries have just a short time to maximise the value they can add for their customers before these major legislative changes take effect. These reforms present financial intermediaries with a great opportunity to support customers by explaining the impact that legislation will have on them. Customers who have been tightening their purse strings and limiting the financial protection they hold need to know that some aspects of cover could cost them more in the future. There couldn't be a better time to assess their needs and ensure their clients are sufficiently covered."

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