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Defaqto undertakes an annual satisfaction survey among financial advisers to establish the service levels of providers of wealth and protection products. This paper sets out the results for the individual protection market. The online survey took place between August and September 2023 and canvassed the opinions of 294 financial advisers measuring the importance to them of 10 categories of service.

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Most popular product options

Level term assurance and critical illness with life cover remain the most popular product options.

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Order of importance

The ranked order of importance is largely unchanged since 2022, but the importance scores generally are lower by, on average, 0.1, which is barely significant.

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Most top three positions

The Exeter achieved the most top three positions for performance, being ranked first for five of the categories and third for the remaining five.

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Number of Protection Products

The average number of different protection products being used by advisers has been dropping year on year and now stands at just 4.5.

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  • The study was conducted between August and September 2023 employing online fieldwork techniques. It measured the relative importance of 10 satisfaction categories and identified the advisers’ preferred providers of individual protection business.
  • The study measured how satisfied the advisers are with their preferred providers and identified where expectations were being met by cross-matching ranked importance with ranked satisfaction.
  • Level term assurance and critical illness with life cover remain the most popular product options. With the exception of these, whole of life and critical illness without life cover, support for all other product types declined this time including support for income protection, which fell by eight percentage points.
  • The average number of different protection products being used by advisers has been dropping year on year and now stands at just 4.5. The predicted widening of the range of products as a result of the new Consumer Duty has not yet materialised.
  • On average, advisers are recommending just 3.9 different providers – significantly fewer than last year and representing a downward trend since 2019. Aviva and Legal & General remain the most popular choice for individual protection products. However, apart from Aviva and Hive Insurance Services, all providers received less support from the advisers in this year’s study compared with last year by, on average, four percentage points.
  • Advisers nominated 23 different preferred protection providers, but only 13 received sufficient nominations to enable us to compute provider-specific satisfaction scores. Aviva was the preferred first choice for 28% of advisers in the study and was the first, second or third choice for 50% of advisers. Legal & General came a close second with 44% of top three preferences. In the case of LV=, while only 1% of advisers nominated the firm as their preferred first choice, 10% nominated it as their second choice.
  • The ranked order of importance is largely unchanged since 2022, but the importance scores generally are lower by, on average, 0.1, which is barely significant.
  • All satisfaction scores are significantly lower than those recorded last time by, on average, eight percentage points. The worst performing category was Business development managers. Technical assistance and Underwriting services also took a significant hit. These results underline the negative commentary on life office service in the trade press.
  • The Exeter achieved the most top three positions for performance, being ranked first for five of the categories and third for the remaining five. HSBC, Royal London and LV= also achieved a significant number of top three positions. Some larger insurers were conspicuous by their absence from the top three.
  • A cross-match of ranked importance and ranked satisfaction demonstrates that the industry is meeting or exceeding expectations for seven out of the 10 categories of service. While this appears promising, it is set against a backdrop of generally lower satisfaction levels across the board. Claims handling and administration and Underwriting services, two of the top three categories for importance, fell below adviser expectations.

 

View the full report here