Stonebridge, the national mortgage and insurance network, has launched new functionality in its wholly-owned trading platform, Revolution, that will help advisers ensure clients are putting in place adequate protection, either through advisers writing the policy themselves or by referring clients to a protection specialist.

At each key stage of the mortgage journey in Revolution, from application to exchange, advisers will be guided to either write the protection themselves or choose to refer to Stonebridge Protect, the specialist referral service. The new system also deals with the confirmation process should clients decline cover.

For every referral made to Stonebridge Protect that converts to a policy, a proportion of the commission will be paid to the member firm, with primary customer ownership remaining with the originating mortgage adviser at all times. Stonebridge said this will create a valuable new income stream for its members.

The launch is being supported by a new campaign that will focus on supporting advisers to ensure they have a protection conversation with every client, every time, and do not leave clients exposed to potentially life-changing events that protection policies would cover.

Rob Clifford, Chief Executive of Stonebridge, commented:

“According to research by Swiss Re, there is a £2.4 trillion protection ‘gap’ in the UK, and this campaign focuses on the ways and means by which advisers can start to close that gap by ensuring every client has the right conversation with a mortgage or protection adviser.

“Given such a huge gap in the UK market, it’s crucial we recognise the real value adequate protection cover can have on people’s lives when they are confronted with a life-changing event.

“The industry, consumer lobby, and regulator all recognise the importance of this subject. The soon-to-be-published Consumer Duty rules are likely to focus on ensuring advisers are doing the right thing for their clients – every time. It will impose higher expectations for the standards of care mortgage and protection advisers provide to their clients, and we expect that part of this will be to ensure protection is clearly offered.

“We’re all conscious that when the mortgage market is busy, the protection needs of some clients might get overlooked, or indeed when the cost of everything is on the up, clients might believe they are unable to afford any sort of protection.

“A combination of these factors could bring about some disastrous results if clients aren’t able to claim when they most need it, perhaps if they lose their job, have a serious illness, or there is any other reason why they’re unable to work and pay their bills

“What we also need to ensure is that advisers have an alternative if they can’t write the protection policy. Our new referral option in Revolution definitely makes it far easier for a client to be put in touch with a protection specialist, every time.”

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