Look back to the 1970’s and 1980’s and you will find that protection advice was very much the domain of the "man" from the Pru, the Pearl or the Refuge.
Such salespeople were a welcome part of the community as they collected cash premiums for funeral plans (life cover) and mini savings endowments door to door on a weekly basis, initialling customer passbooks as they went. Their advice continued almost automatically down the generations of many families.
The advent of regulation in the mid 1980’s and the changing national demographics of the time led to the introduction of qualifications, slicker processes and new entrants to the financial services market. This was very much the start of the end of the door to door salesperson. The new entrants took the form of sales-forces who were specifically trained to advise on protection as a fundamental part of their core training. This time period also led to the birth of the Widow’s Story.
Moving forward to the 1990’s there was a complete refocus of business propositions as we moved into the era of the "Yuppie" and the feeling of all-round good times. Personal wealth and cash savings grew as did the various sales-forces, particularly within the banking sector. Such expansions brought a need to drive profitability through activity and the mantra of "the more people seen, the greater the possibility of a sale".
During this time period the typical sale became the raiding of cash savings into investment bonds as this provided high levels of commission, no clawback, immediate ‘on risk’ status and the perceived lack of requirement for a client review as the minimum recommended investment term was five years. These factors allowed for the quick switch of focus to the next sale.
The major consequence of this shift has been sixteen to eighteen years of lost protection sales techniques meaning that many advisers now lack the once held confidence of discussing the correct levels of protection with clients. This Lost Generation has given rise to advisers who are unskilled in the sale of protection as they have never had to sell in this marketplace, having always worked in an investment focussed market.