The IPTF is delighted that the Seven Families initiative (initially given the working title Family Support Initiative) has reached its full funding target and will launch in the last quarter of 2014. Preparations are now underway but in the meantime, here’s a brief outline of what it’s all about.
Put simply, the project will provide a tax-free income for one year to seven families where an earner is no longer working because of a long term sickness or accident. The charity Disability Rights UK has been asked to find seven families where the main breadwinner has been forced out of work by an accident or illness and not had any insurance payout.
The recipients will then receive an income for a year as if they had originally bought a short-term IP plan, paid for collectively by a group of insurers supporting the campaign to raise awareness of financial vulnerability, and to position themselves as a credible solution should people be prompted to go looking for ways to avoid financial disaster.
The money will be given on a charitable basis, but paid monthly to replicate what would have happened if they had cover in place originally. Each family will also have the opportunity to benefit from rehabilitation and counselling services that have a proven track record of helping people back into a productive life, whether in their old job or in a new one more suited to their new circumstances.
The families will be from a range of backgrounds and locations, as well as representing a range of different illnesses and accidents. Their previous financial situation will be taken into account to ensure that any potential impact on state benefits is minimal. They will tell their personal stories in a series of films available via a dedicated YouTube channel and via both traditional national and local media outlets and social media.
The total funding pot will be split approximately 50/50 between paying an income to the families and promoting the campaign to the public. The 17 companies that have now signed up to the campaign have committed £20,000 each to allow it to announce on 16 June that it had reached its £340,000 funding target.
The campaign’s success will be measured in a variety of ways including pre- and post-launch research, social media engagement, publicity and press coverage, and of course the impact on the seven families themselves, who will be fully involved in all aspects of the campaign and whose insights will be invaluable.
There will be challenges along the way and one of the points often made relates to the families after the income has ceased. Whilst accepting that some Income Protection/Accident Sickness and Unemployment style policies only pay for one year, the families will have access to financial advice where appropriate and overall we believe that significant financial help for one year is considerably better than nothing at all. Any rehabilitation efforts that are ongoing will continue beyond the duration of the initiative.
Simon Read, personal finance editor of The Independent, recently wrote: “Together we can help turn the initiative into something profound that could make a real difference to people’s lives. Let’s not forget that it is probably the first time so many major insurers have worked together for a common purpose and got widespread support for doing so.”
Whilst insurance companies are funding the initiative in the hope that greater awareness will lead people to go looking for solutions, it is not about pushing products or brands. Seven Families is about awareness; it’s about prompting conversations among families about how they would cope; it’s about letting a group of families who’ve hit a crisis talk to other families who haven’t…yet. Whilst this applies to the public it is also relevant to the adviser community where advice around protection is crucial.
Consumer champion and personal finance editor of the Mail on Sunday, Jeff Prestridge wrote in a piece for Financial Adviser magazine just a few weeks ago: “The idea is that by monitoring and highlighting the transforming impact of these payments on the seven families’ lives (as well as the benefits of supporting counselling and rehabilitation), the virtues of income protection will be brought to a wider audience and I wish the initiative great success.”
Our key partners in the project are:
RedArc have generously donated their vast experience of working with people in crisis, using their employee base of nurses to provide anything from a listening ear for any member of the family to practical help alongside any rehabiitation efforts.
The IPTF would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners and the many individuals working within the industry who have been inspired by the initiative and who have pledged their support and expertise on a pro-bono basis.
Kevin Carr MCIPR
Managing Director, Carr Consulting & Communications
Chief Executive, Protection Review
Follow me at www.twitter.com/kevincarrc
Tel: 0207 183 8033 / 07887 838811
Telephone and Facsimile: +44 (0)1279 319850
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