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Exploring the value of value added benefits

Richard Waters

Guest Blog Writer: Richard Waters, Interim Head of Protection Distribution at HSBC Life

19 March 2024
The protection sector has long recognised that protection is about more than just money. Non-financial needs can often be overwhelming, and when emotional and practical support is provided it can make an enormous difference to clients and their families. 

At a time when health services are under strain and the cost-of-living crisis is stretching household budgets with knock-on effects to physical, mental, and financial health, value added benefits can provide help quickly when it is needed. 

Value Added Benefits (VABs) can play a key role in helping to demonstrate good customer outcomes and value for money. Just as importantly, they should help advisers to promote the value of protection beyond the claims acceptance rates and pure financial support. 

Providers such as HSBC Life (UK) offer a wide range of value-added services alongside protection policies with no extra consultation fees. Clients have access to medical support services such as second medical opinions, unlimited remote 24/7 GP appointments, prescription services, physiotherapy, mental health support and an annual health MOT. 
 

Adding value for advisers 

There is compelling evidence that clients who use VABs value them immensely. Data from HSBC Life UK’s healthcare provider, Square Health, shows that clients rated its services as 4.8 out of 5 and said it answered their questions in 95% of instances*.  

Services however need to be easy to access and simple to use. Technology can play a key role in achieving that by offering services through an app. Clients also need to be explained how they can access these services so that when they need them it is quick and straight-forward to access.
 

The value of VABs

VABs ought to be extremely popular – who wouldn’t want the ongoing access to benefits as part of a policy which ideally they never want to use? The value of being able to access services quickly and efficiently is clear and HSBC Life UK’s research** certainly backs that up – 97% of advisers we spoke to say VABs are important to the advice they provide on protection with more than half (55%) saying they are very important.

The same number (97%) say VABs are important to potential purchasers with 53% saying they are very important. On average advisers estimate 66% of clients use the VABs they have access to, with 13% saying virtually all clients make use of them. Almost half (48%) of advisers say they or their families have used VABs.

Advisers believe the most valued VABs for clients include mental health support (31%), remote GPs and prescriptions (27%) and legal services (23%)

The clients most likely to use VABs, according to advisers, are the over 55s (37%) followed by retired people (30%), new parents (29%) and families with children aged between two and 10 (27%) and the self-employed (26%). This demonstrates that right across advisers’ clients there is demand for these services and they are valued.


But do clients know enough about VABs?

HSBC Life UK’s research shows that on the face of it there is reasonable awareness – 40% questioned said they had heard of VABs with nearly one in 10 (9%) saying they had used them, the same number saying someone in their household had used them.

However, more than half (52%) believe the protection industry has to do more to improve understanding of VABs while 29% believe that because VABs are viewed as “free” there is not much value in them. Maybe our industry should relook at how we place a value on these benefits such that clients understand the value more readily.

It is time to start shouting about VABs and make them an integral part of the advice process.
 

Setting up your Agency

Setting up a new agency with HSBC Life is easy and straightforward, simply complete and email Agency Application Form to our dedicated protection support team at [email protected]

Visit our website or contact one of our development team.



*Source: Square Health real time Customer Survey June 2023.

**The independent research agency 3Gem Research & Insights interviewed a sample of 208 financial advisers across the UK specialising in protection between December 5th and 20th 2023 and 2,000 adults aged between 18 and 64 including 800 parents or guardians of children aged up to 23 between December 15th and 20th 2023.


For Financial Advisers only HSBC Life (UK) Limited Registered Office: 8 Canada Square, London E14 5HQ. Registered in England - Number 88695. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Our firm reference number is 133435. HSBC Life (UK) Limited is a member of the Association of British Insurers. Issued by HSBC Life (UK) Limited: Customer Services Centre, PO Box 1053, AL1 9QG. ©HSBC Bank plc 2022. All Rights Reserved.

 

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