Are we all creatures of habit?

Peter Le Beau wrote in his final protection column for Mortgage Introducer that ‘Protection insurance isn’t perfect but it is incredibly important and one that almost every family in the UK needs.’

As a nation, 20.4m people have contents insurance, 17m have buildings insurance, yet only 300,000 have income protection. The protection gap stands at £2.3 trillion. Why does this problem still exist and what responsibility do advisers have over these drastic statistics?

Trust me, I have heard all of the reasons why advisers have not provided protection advice, whether it’s because of the process, underwriting, not having enough time or not wanting to overload the client with information until after the mortgage is complete. These defences are all reasonable to a certain extent, but I believe it really comes down to one thing – our habits.

Apparently it takes 21 days to break a habit, and 66 days to form a new one. No matter how in-control we are of our businesses or personal lives they are all dominated by habits, be it your morning routine, the feeling to check your inbox every 2 minutes, or mannerisms during conversation. Habits are repeated behaviours with little or no conscious intention; they are repeated so frequently that it’s done unconsciously.

Intentions create habits in the first place. For example, our parents taught us as young children that if you don’t want your teeth to fall out, you have to brush them every day – this intention soon becomes a good habit. So, what if we applied this to having a protection conversation and providing a quote to every client that you speak to?

First of all you’ve got to decide why this intention is important to you. Do you feel a responsibility to protect clients’ lives or not? That should be an easy answer. You then need to plan by understanding how you can implement this within your advice process. For example, can this conversation form part of the overall affordability assessment of your client in the first mortgage interview? Once you understand how you can implement it, repeat your actions.

Imagine the impact on UK families if we all created this new habit. This is certainly my mission as I take over the helm of writing Peter’s protection column – a hard act to follow but one I will take very seriously.

If you do nothing else but quote protection insurance consistently, not only will you be doing an incredible service to your clients, but you will break the mould of countless mortgage brokers across the industry. Your role as an adviser can truly make a difference to people’s lives – by simply creating a good habit.

Mark Graves is Managing Director at Sesame and PMS


Mark Graves is Managing Director at Sesame and PMS

With 20 years industry experience, Mark previously worked at LSL for 10 years in a range of senior roles, which included leading the Pink Network. Earlier in his career, Mark helped to build one of the largest mortgage brokerages as Managing Director of Mortgages Direct. In 2003 Mark set up his own mortgage business, Linear Mortgage Network, which was later acquired by LSL.