"After record-breaking years in 2017 and 2018, the first quarter of 2019 continues to see new highs in protection new business applications. "
IRESS has reported a record 50% rise in income protection sales via its transaction portal in the first quarter of 2019.
The latest sales data from The Exchange shows further increases in the sale of protection products, continuing the positive trend seen over the last two years.
During the first three months of 2019, IRESS recorded a 10% year-on-year rise in new protection applications – as measured by click-through rates from The Exchange to provider applications – with 68,941 new business applications in Q1.
The first quarter saw growth across all main protection lines. Income protection enjoyed the largest year-on-year increase at 50%, while mortgage protection grew by 17%, multi-benefit cover by 15% and term (including critical illness) by 6%.
The quarter also saw record-breaking individual months for three lines, with the highest ever new business applications for income protection and mortgage protection in March, as well as for term assurance in January.
Alongside the growth in new business applications in Q1, IRESS also saw a 3.5% rise in the number of firms writing protection, compared to Q1 2018.
Dave Miller, executive general manager at IRESS, said: “After record-breaking years in 2017 and 2018, the first quarter of 2019 continues to see new highs in protection new business applications. The significant growth seen in income protection is fuelled by a wider range of products offered by providers as well as a greater number of advisers selling this line. For mortgage protection, market conditions together with further technology and product efficiencies have helped support advisers to increase volumes.
“Historically more new business has been placed between January and March, so we would normally expect to see lower volumes later in the year. However, 2018 bucked that trend across many lines, so we watch with interest to see how the second quarter plays out.”