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Protection must evolve to meet changing customer needs

Published: 14/09/2023

With the ongoing economic challenges highlighting the need for better financial resilience, it’s never been more important for advisers to be discussing protection insurance with their clients. The advent of the new Consumer Duty regulations also mean that protection products must evolve to meet changing consumer needs and deliver good outcomes, writes Justin Taurog, Managing Director VitalityLife.


The continuing cost-of-living crisis, as well as declining rates of population health and record numbers out of work due to illness1 have heighted the need for financial protection and the valuable role our industry can play at this time.


At the same time, wider trends shaping our world – from major changes in the way we live and work to advances in medical science – mean that protection products have needed to evolve to fully meet client expectations.


The regulatory environment is changing too. With the FCA’s new Consumer Duty regulations described as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way it expects firms to treat customers, advisers and insurers alike must work to deliver good consumer outcomes and avoid causing foreseeable harm.

"To truly achieve the best possible client outcomes, actively helping people to lead a healthier, happier, longer life through best-in-class cover that moves with the times has never been more important."

- Justin Taurog, Managing Director, VitalityLife

Moment of truth

For any client and their adviser, claiming on a protection plan is the ultimate moment of truth, the test of the value of that advice and recommendation.


Our latest annual claim statistics demonstrate that we’re there for your clients when they need it the most, paying out £96m worth of claims in 2022 alone - 99.7% of Life Cover claims, 92.5% of Serious Illness Cover claims and 97.7% of all Income Protection claims – as explored in our latest Life Claims and Benefits Report.


Many of the underlying statistics also highlight the value of protection insurance across all ages and demographics. For example, our youngest Serious Illness Cover claimant in 2022 was just six months old, demonstrating why protection conversations need to focus on a wide range of client needs, not just the traditional term assurance discussion.

Immediate value

Even before a claim is made though, protection products increasingly need to deliver more than just the peace of mind offered by traditional insurance.

At a time of tightening budgets and an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, clients are understandably looking for more immediate, tangible value.

There has never been a better time therefore to fully embrace a less transactional form of insurance. One that treats clients holistically and addresses their protection needs over time, whilst also delivering everyday benefits, and most importantly – better health.

In 2022 our members received £60m paid back in rewards, with these members saving on average 28% of their premium through rewards alone. Members with Optimiser discounts meanwhile saved £42m.

Through our unique Shared Value Insurance we can ensure clients are protected, whilst delivering tangible benefits and supporting them to make positive health and lifestyle improvements. This drives far greater levels of engagement, in a way that helps clients live longer, healthier lives: a core component of what we see as the next generation of life insurance.

Better outcomes for all

Another key feature of our unique approach to protection is offering more relevant cover, based on the modern needs of today’s consumer.


This is reflected in the unique, market-leading suite of protection products and plan benefits we offer today. From the ability to claim multiple times on our severity-based Serious Illness Cover, the role Dementia and FrailCare Cover is playing to support later life funding to all-new levels of flexibility provided by our Income Protection Plan, alongside the evidence-based success of the Vitality Programme.


Our next generation approach also creates additional advice opportunities for regular touchpoints with clients, which can bring significant benefits too when it comes to client reviews, business referrals and long-term customer loyalty. 

This drives up retention rates for intermediaries, at a time when protection persistency is a priority. Our own data shows that highly engaged (Platinum) members are 39% less likely to lapse their policy. What’s more, the Vitality Programme is proven to lower mortality risk, up to 41% for our engaged members.


At a time when the country is facing significant health and wellbeing challenges, against a difficult economic backdrop, it’s clear that the needs of customers are changing. Simply putting financial protection in place is no longer enough.


To truly achieve the best possible client outcomes, actively helping people to lead a healthier, longer life through best-in-class cover that moves with the times has never been more important. As you’ll find in this year’s Life Claims & Benefits Report, our annual claims stats back this up.
To find out more about how Vitality supported clients in 2022 through market-leading protection cover
and health and wellbeing benefits, view and download our latest Life Claims and Benefits Report.

Where to next?

  • Six reasons to choose Optimiser and why now

    With the cost-of-living crisis showing no signs of abating and many clients on a tighter budget than usual, unique plan options like Optimiser can be a great way of making protection cover more affordable, whilst unlocking immediate value for clients, writes Vitality Adviser Editor, Rob Harvey.

  • How advisers can overcome Optimism Bias

    People tend to be overconfident when it comes to certain risks, particularly their own health and wellbeing, but this is something advisers will be all-too familiar with, writes Greg Levine, Chief Operations and Growth Officer, Vitality.

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