Fortis heralds a new era in Life Insurance Protection

Article published on 10th September 2008

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As the United Kingdom recession sets firmly in and reports continue to emerge of the ?protection gap? in the UK mortgage market, at least one light is beginning to emerge at the end of the tunnel.

For many people, the thought of protecting their own lives against death, with life insurance, is the last thing on their minds, especially with soaring fuel, energy and food costs!

Unfortunately as reports show that over ?2.3 trillion of debt are not protected by any Life Insurance cover, it is a sad fact that many families could find themselves not only mourning the loss of a loved one, but also facing financial disaster.

Many UK consumers are unaware that debts are not simply wiped out upon the death of a loved one and in fact pass to any surviving spouse or children. So whilst the mentality of ?why should I care, I?ll be dead? can be sympathised with, in reality it is the families of the deceased who are really left to suffer.

For many people it is the cost of Life Insurance and the complicated nature of the cover that puts people off. Whilst premiums start quite low for the healthy younger aged, they can climb quite considerably with age and medical conditions. Added to this are the effects of the current economic situation, in which protection premiums are the first to be cut from household budgets!

Whilst the situation may seem dark and gloomy for many onlookers, a light at the end of the tunnel is starting to emerge. European bank Fortis have recently entered the protection market and with this entry are bringing change in both the way they design their products and also the premiums they attach the them.

Fortis, who rank in the top 20 financial institutions in Europe, are already established in the UK general and commercial insurance markets but until recently have not offered products in the highly competitive UK Life Insurance market.

So what makes Fortis stand out from the rest of the Life Insurance crowd? Well for a start and most importantly in a consumer?s eye, the premiums which Fortis offer, at times, far surpass their nearest competitor. For instance for an older client, where insurance is difficult to get anyway, Fortis are offering premiums which are up to 10% less than the nearest competitor.

Combined with low premiums, Fortis also offers a rethink on the medical evidence required to obtain Life Cover. Where as some insurers will automatically ask for General Practitioner?s Reports (especially with older clients), Fortis will only request such reports if the medical information disclosed to them needs further investigation. On top of this, for consumers where no medical conditions exist, Fortis will not automatically request any kind of medical examination unless the cover required is over ?1,000,000 for under 30?s or up to ?100,000 for over 70?s.

This sensible approach to automatic underwriting means much faster policy setup for consumers and avoids, where possible, the indignity of medical examinations and in depth doctor?s reports.

These principles of fair pricing and sensible automatic underwriting also spread to the other products offered by Fortis as part of their menu driven protection scheme. With the offer of cover for Critical Illness? and Income Protection as well as Life Assurance, consumers are able to adequately cover themselves from a variety of life changing and possibly financially catastrophic events.

To conclude, the introduction of Fortis? protection offerings is a breath of fresh air, for both consumers and advisors, and invites the rest of the UK Insurance market to bring both its practices and premiums into line to remain competitive. There can be no doubt that a more competitive market is only in the best interest of consumers and will go a long way to reducing premiums all round and closing the current protection gap.

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