Connect appoints Umbrella Protect

Connect for Intermediaries has appointed specialist protection advisers, Umbrella Protect, to its panel in a mission to transform the way that protection is sold. Connect and Umbrella Protect want to ensure that every borrower has access to the very best protection solution available every time they take out a mortgage.

Umbrella Protect are pure protection specialists and have been chosen for the passion they have to make sure every customer receives quality protection advice, not only today but throughout their lifetime. Umbrella Protect’s advisers will provide Connect’s network members with support and help to fill the protection gap. Customer care will be at the forefront of all their advice, as will developing a strong working relationship with Connect’s advisers.

Umbrella Protect will provide expert protection advice to all clients referred by Connect advisers and its network members. This will include critical illness, income protection, life assurance as well as business insurance for key workers and buildings & contents insurance.

This appointment comes hot on the heels of a recent report published by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) which found that while 97% of mortgage advisers raise the subject of protection with their clients only 36% ever remember it being mentioned by their adviser. This highlights the protection gap at a time when protection is needed more than ever. The report also highlighted that only 15% of advisers currently pass their mortgage clients over to a specialist third party.

The appointment of Umbrella Protect to panel will ensure that Connect for Intermediaries bucks this trend and that every borrower coming to its mortgage advisers also receives the very best protection advice available and remembers that they have received it.

Connect has also recently enhanced the protection proposition for its network, supporting advisers with a wide panel, enhanced commissions and additional training.

Liz Syms, CEO of Connect for Intermediaries, says, “We are committed to ensuring that every borrower is protected. Since the pandemic, the need for protection has been heightened, amongst both advisers and their clients. At the same time, the gaping hole that is the protection gap has been clearly illustrated in the AMI report, highlighting the desperate need for good quality advice.

“While awareness of the need for protection has grown, demand for mortgages has also increased, so while some advisers are keen to provide protection advice, many just do not have the time. Others do not know the protection market well enough, or prefer to focus on just the mortgage.

“This protection gap cannot be allowed to continue unabated so we have partnered with Umbrella Protect as the first step in making sure all our advisers and their clients have access to a market-leading protection specialist. We need to play our part in making sure our members’ clients always have protection advice available to them. We believe Umbrella, with their complete focus on offering quality protection advice, will play an important role in making sure all of our clients are put in an informed position.”

Anna Glod, managing director of Umbrella Protect, says, “The AMI report illustrates that for many mortgage advisers, understandably their focus is on the mortgage and they do not push for protection. Advising on protection is a very different mindset to arranging a mortgage. With a mortgage you want to find the cheapest; with protection the cheapest is very often the wrong advice for the client.

“The protection solutions available from the different providers change on a daily basis, just as mortgages do. So it is almost impossible for anyone not advising on protection all day, every day to find the right solution, covering the right conditions for each individual client. Most mortgage advisers just do not have the time to phone round multiple protection providers to carry out pre-underwriting research and analyse which solution is the best before presenting their advice.

“This is the service we will be providing for every Connect adviser who wants it. Not only will we ensure that every client has the best possible advice but if the worst should happen and they need to make a claim, we have a dedicated claims department. This means we will submit claims on a client’s behalf and look after the whole claims process, chasing up both GP reports and the providers. This often results in getting a pay-out for the client much more quickly than if they were to make the claim themselves.”

This partnership will help to make a real shift, addressing the concerns in the AMI report. It will immediately increase the number of protection cases that are referred to a specialist and will help to make sure that every client of a Connect member is given the opportunity to receive expert protection advice.