Anna Glod Highlights ‘Bad Practices’ of Utility Warehouse’s Unadvised Intellectual Property Sales
Posting on LinkedIn yesterday (August 3), Umbrella Protect Managing Director Anna Glod highlighted a fixed energy offering from Utility Warehouse that included sales staff pushing income protection into the package.
Described as a multi-service energy provider, a model also known as multi-level marketing, Utility Warehouse operates under the parent company’s brand name, Telecom Plus, and offers a portfolio of services spanning energy, mobile and broadband, and home insurance.
Glod said it looked at Utility Warehouse’s “best fixed power contract” to find that applicants were also forced to take four other quality products as well – broadband, a mobile SIM card, contents insurance and its income protection product, Income Protector.
“As you can imagine, I was particularly interested in the details of this Income Protector (what they call it) product,” Glod wrote in his post.
“The rep didn’t even know who the insurer was and couldn’t explain the details of the policy to me, but she was trying to convince me to buy it.”
According to the Utility Warehouse website, its income protection product provides compensation of up to £750 per month over a six-month claim period after 30 days of incapacity for work or unemployment, with a total accidental death benefit of £10,000. .
Premium is quoted at £16 per month for cover, although Glod’s research found premiums could also cost £18 per month, a cost it says could be beaten by other insurers including a claim period of 12 months.
Glod wrote that the price element wasn’t the most shocking part to her compared to how the product, and the overall deal it was included in, was advertised on social media.
“Nothing is mentioned about the need to purchase four additional services, nothing is explained about insurance products: content or revenue protection during the sales visit,” Glod detailed.
“They were trying to sell me an income protection policy without even checking what my profession was, my income or my health.”
Non-advised protection sales are a controversial topic across the industry, with many advisers and intermediaries expressing their dissatisfaction with the practice and its negative impact on consumers.
In April, LifeSearch President Tom Baigrie spoke to COVER about his work to increase transparency in life coverage by asking insurers to disclose greater levels of data in their non-advised sales channels to the name of building consumer confidence.
However, due to the often complex nature of income protection, it is considered a product that specifically requires qualified financial advice in order for consumers to obtain the appropriate breadth and depth of cover.
“Income protection is part of protection advice and regulated financial advice.
I believe every consumer deserves proper financial advice,” Glod said.
“Consumers should not be forced to buy regulated products as part of their energy supply without proper guidance and explanation. This must stop!”
COVER has approached Utility Warehouse for comment.