1 July 2020


Increased client willingness to talk about ‘what ifs’. 

  • 75% of advisers say there has been an increase in willingness by clients to talk about protection. 
  • 83% of advisers who ‘didn’t always talk about protection’ are now discussing it more frequently. 
  • 38% have seen an uplift in protection enquiries from new clients. 
  • 67% think protection sales will grow as their firms seek to counter lost income. 
  • 66% are looking for new ways to make income as they expect overall revenue to fall due to Coronavirus. 

 Protection challenger Guardian has found that advisers are seeing a shift in consumer attitude towards protection as a result of Coronavirus. Of the 410 advisers surveyed* over the last 3 months by the life and critical illness company, the majority said they’re experiencing a change in client behaviour, with 75% reporting an increased willingness to talk about protection. 

Advisers said the crisis has prompted an increase in clients actively seeking protection advice. 40% had seen an increase in protection enquiries from existing clients and 38% had seen an increase from new clients. Over half of advisers (55%) said they always talk about protection. Of the rest, 83% said they’d discussed it more frequently since the pandemic began. 

This shift in consumer behaviour is an important development for the protection industry and comes as advisers seek to counter lost income as a result of Coronavirus. 56% of advisers said they expected their overall revenue to fall as a result of the crisis. Nearly two thirds (66%) said they’d be looking for new ways to earn income and 67% said they thought protection sales would grow within their business. 

Guardian CEO, Katya MacLean said: “Coronavirus has changed so much of what we used to call normal. It’s made us pause for thought and realise what’s really important in life. So it’s not surprising that advisers are reporting an increase in client willingness to talk about the ‘what if’s’. Those advisers who didn’t always talk to their clients about protection say they’re now discussing it more frequently, and many are also experiencing a rise in proactive protection enquiries. 

“We know that before the pandemic, some advisers found it hard to talk to their clients about their own mortality and morbidity. But, for the short term at least, we’re seeing a change in consumer appetite to have this tough, but necessary, conversation. This change, in these unprecedented circumstances, gives advisers an opportunity to show clients the benefit of their advice. Which, in turn, should help more people get the cover they need.” 

Commenting on the findings, Cavendish Ware Associate Director, Roy McLoughlin, said: “The virus has pushed protection insurance higher up the agenda for many clients. I am seeing this personally within my own business and am hearing the same during discussions at the Protection Distributors’ Group. It seems that in this challenging situation, people are thinking more about their own mortality. What is also welcome is that for the first time in my memory, a Chancellor of the Exchequer has mentioned protection in his speeches, bringing it to the attention of the masses.” 

Echoing the trend, Paradigm Head of Protection, Mike Allison, said: “The impact of Coronavirus seems to have caused a shift in peoples’ risk appetites as well as awareness of the support available to them. At Paradigm, evidence suggests that more clients are taking the time to understand the nuances between protection products and take on board differences in quality between providers, an excellent reason for firms to offer a whole of market approach. Ultimately this is a good thing for the advice industry as this increased appetite to talk about risk helps us to better serve our customers.” 

The research findings come shortly after Guardian was awarded Gold status across its entire life and critical illness product portfolio by independent research analyst, Protection Guru. This accolade is supported by the challenger’s own research findings, which found that of Guardian’s innovative product features, advisers particularly liked its dual life approach, simple critical illness definitions and optional children’s cover. 

-Release ends- 

Notes to editors:

Press enquiries to Natalie Robinson, 07789 501146,

*Survey powered by Survey Monkey of 410 advisers by Guardian, from 14 April 2020 to 28 June 2020. 

Guardian Financial Services is an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly
All products are provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited (SFA) and we have an agreement with them to underwrite and issue the protection policies we distribute through the UK intermediary channel. As an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited, Guardian Financial Services Limited is the market-facing brand under which we promote our proposition and engage with advisers. 

Background to Guardian Financial Services, owned by Gryphon Group Holdings
Guardian, the new life and protection insurance business, launched in 2018 and pledged to grow the protection market. The brand promise of ‘Life. Made Better.’ reflects the company’s commitment to rethink and reinvent protection for the better; making sure customers get cover that’s easier to understand, simple to buy and designed to never let them down. 

Guardian’s business partners
Gryphon Group Holdings is majority owned by Punter Southall Group as the largest equity capital investor. Its back-end technology partner is Liss Systems, the UK arm of Nasdaq-listed EXL. Its front-end technology, branding and marketing partner is Space, UK based financial services specialists. Risk partners are Hannover Re and Gen Re.