Seven in 10 (70%) consumers cannot remember seeing any advertising for critical illness cover (CIC) recently including on TV, in social media, or in the news, according to research from CIExpert.
The findings released ahead of CI Expert’s inaugural Critical Thinking Report on 8 February, revealed just over four in 10 (45%) understood the basic premise that they would receive an agreed lump-sum pay out when diagnosed with a critical illness.
Around 17% of consumers wrongly believe that a CIC pay out must be used to pay off a mortgage, rising to a quarter of young people (27% of millennials – people born from 1981 to 1996) and (26% gen Z – born between 1997 and 2012), while a further 49% of consumers “didn’t know”.
The report also found two-thirds of consumers (66%) are not aware that the price of CIC is fixed from the age they buy it. But once informed, 40% are more likely to consider a policy sooner rather than later in life.
Alan Lakey, director at CIExpert, (pictured) said: “Are we surprised there is a protection gap where so few consumers currently have critical illness cover and when so few have seen any advertising for it?
“A staggering 74% of women, and 66% of men, cannot recall seeing any advertising for critical illness cover including on TV, in social media or in the news.
“Our new Critical Thinking Report assesses consumers’ awareness and attitude towards critical illness cover to better understand both the barriers and drivers to taking a policy.
“In parallel we have also sought to better understand the advice process and what advisers consider when they recommend plans to their clients.
“With greater comprehension, the industry can refine its approach to product design and marketing and also assist in the education process. This is essential in developing critical illness insurance into a mainstream product as opposed to its current position as an appendage to a life insurance policy.”
CIExpert’s Critical Thinking Report – sponsored by Guardian and HSBC Life – is a bespoke study based on the views and experiences of 5,000 consumers and analysed by generation, alongside insights from more than 300 advisers, making it the most comprehensive study into the UK critical illness cover market.
The report will look into issues including common misconceptions that consumers hold on CIC, insights on advice and the barriers that exist, views on joint vs single life cover, children’s policies, and what would drive them to consider CIC in the future.
It will also include insights from advisers, in conjunction with PDG [ Protection Distributors Group] and its members.