Income Protection Awareness Week 2023 – the “difficult” third album?

Income Protection Awareness Week 2023 – the “difficult” third album?
Income Protection Awareness Week 2023 – the “difficult” third album?

Shaun Ware


Brand & Corporate Communications Manager

Now in its third year and quickly establishing itself as an event of note in the protection calendar, Income Protection Awareness Week (IPAW) has set a high bar for itself in terms of quality of content and adviser engagement.

So, when planning this year’s activities, the Income Protection Task Force (IPTF) and its members faced a new challenge – ensuring the content offered the third time around remained fresh, relevant, and engaging.

Whilst this challenge may seem daunting, it’s something that every business and industry faces as they evolve and improve. My favourite analogy to compare this challenge to comes from the music industry and the phrase “difficult third album”.

The term is often used when artists or bands are faced with writing new material following a period of success. There’s the challenge of making something different that fulfils personal aspirations whilst engaging existing supporters and attracting new ones. On top of this, there’s a need to ensure the output is good enough to allow you to come back and do it all over again!

So, with this in mind, will IPAW 2023 be a hit? Will it be back for another year? Definitely (not maybe!), and here’s why.

IPAW is an industry effort

Whilst primarily aimed at engaging advisers with educational content to encourage wider income protection conversations, IPAW remains relevant to those throughout the financial services industry. From the 100 days of pre-event promotion to the daily sessions run between 18-22 September, there’s something for everyone.

The protection industry is often at its best when working together to achieve a common goal, and the IPTF is an enabler in bringing the industry together to drive change. Each of its 32 members brings valuable skills and opinions to the table, with IPAW being a true collaboration between advisers, insurers, reinsurers, technology partners and more. Not only does this ensure the content produced is relevant to the challenges currently facing advisers, but it also appeals to wider audiences, both new and old.

Interest in income protection is growing

IPAW 2022 saw a surge in engagement. The week generated 5,046 registrations, with content being viewed by almost 3,500 people either live or on demand. This engagement reflects a greater industry focus on income protection, which saw sales increase by 2% in 20221.

With new insurers entering the market, and existing products continually being improved, the income protection options available have arguably never been as comprehensive. It's therefore not surprising that the number of policies written in H1 2023 has increased by 22% compared to the same period last year2.

However, to protect more people we can’t take our foot off the gas. We must build upon the interest generated to date and shout even louder - and IPAW is key to making this happen.

There remains a clear need for cover

In 2022, over 185 million working days were lost in the UK due to sickness absence - the highest on record3. When added to the reality that half of Brits have £1,000 or less in savings4 and one in three people receive a maximum of one week’s sick pay5, too many would struggle if their income reduced, or stopped altogether, due to illness or injury.

With levels of general sickness absence rising, so too are absences for minor illnesses and mental health conditions, amongst others. These conditions will unlikely be covered by wider protection products, therefore the need for income protection will only become greater in the coming years. And it's our collective responsibility to ensure we meet this need.

It’s time for change

For too long, income protection insurance has been described as “undersold”. With the focus and momentum that IPAW provides, the opportunity is there to change protection conversations forever for the benefit of UK households.

All it takes to raise awareness is a conversation. And there’s no better time than now.

1 – Swiss Re Term and Health Watch 2023
2 – Gen Re Protection Pulse
3 – Sickness absence in the labour market 2022
4 – finder.com
5 – The Exeter Health and Financial Fears Report 2023

This article appeared in Money Marketing on 15/09.