50% of the UK’s mortgage holders (8.2 million people) have no life cover in place and only 20% have a critical illness policy, according to Scottish Widows.
The firm is aiming to help mortgage intermediaries close this protection gap by making its Scottish Widows Protect range (SWP) more attractive and accessible.
A new joint life option has been introduced and the minimum sum assured on life insurance and critical illness cover has been reduced from £100,000 to £25,000. Scottish Widows claims this reduction opens up more opportunities for mortgage-related adviser business such as remortgaging to release capital, further advances and second steppers who are taking a modest increase in loan.
The SWP range has been added to the Webline portal, allowing even more advisers to access the company’s menu-based product.
There is also a ‘price lock guarantee’.
Scottish Widows continues to offer free mortgage cover, designed to protect customers during the period from finalising their contract to buying their new home, to the start date of the mortgage. It’s available to customers who apply for a life, life and critical illness, or a critical illness policy in connection with a new mortgage, and cover is provided for up to a maximum of 90 days.
Johnny Timpson, protection spokesperson at Scottish Widows, said: “None of us want to think about the worst, but our research findings show that there are an alarming number of mortgage holders who could face a significant financial struggle in the event of an unexpected loss of income.
“These developments add weight to our commitment to offering well-rounded, menu-based protection solutions which suit the mortgage intermediary market just as well as the protection intermediary market. And they’re based on the feedback we’ve had from advisers themselves, allowing us to build a better understanding of how Scottish Widows Protect can help their clients as well as help to build their business.”