IPipeline has witnessed 10% growth in intermediary protection sales year-on-year through its adviser platforms.
The firm’s Q1 data reveals new business volumes were up 10% during the first three months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, while like-for-like business grew 7%.
Decreasing life applications were up 21% compared to Q1 2020, while level life policy sales were also up on last year – by 16% – and the average life cover amount was 4% higher than in the same period in 2020.
Critical Illness (CI) volumes also increased 12% year-on-year and decreasing CI volumes were up 6% while sales into multi-benefit products also continued to grow – 30% of new business applications were on a multi-benefit basis in Q1, compared with 26% in Q1 2020.
However, volumes for underwritten whole of life were down 23% compared to Q1 2020 while income protection (IP) sales fell 8%.
While IP volumes were very strong in Q1 2020, they fell heavily during the first lockdown but have been recovering throughout 2020 and this has continued into 2021.
All advice channels saw improvement during Q1 2021, with call centres witnessing an 18% increase in new business compared to the same period in 2020.
Mortgage brokers saw business pick up significantly, with 7% growth compared to Q1 2020 while independent financial advisers (IFAs) have also started to see some shoots of recovery after a challenging year, with iPipeline reporting a 3% increase for the channel compared to Q1 2020.
Commenting on the findings, Paul Yates, product strategy director at iPipeline, said: “The protection industry, like many others, has had a very challenging 12 months, but we are seeing some positive signs.
“Our Q1 data shows increases across life and critical illness and an uplift across all channels. The pandemic has made people realise they need protection more than ever and the best intermediaries are becoming more efficient and effective.
“We therefore expect to see protection volumes continue on their pre-pandemic grow trends driven by better products, better advice and sales process and better technology in 2021.”
Andrew Wibberley, co-chair of the Income Protection Task Force, added: “It is encouraging to see IP sales continue to recover, and there is clear potential for significant growth in the months ahead.
“There’s increased awareness that our collective and individual vulnerability can be confidently protected as restrictions on product offerings have been removed and underwriting returns to a pre-Covid state.”