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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

More than half of women not covered by financial protection measures

In the UK 51% of women are not covered by financial protection such as life insurance, income protection and critical illness cover according to research by Aegon.

Women putting their families at 'unnecessary risk' ©iStock
Women putting their families at 'unnecessary risk' ©iStock

Their Protection matters: does women’s financial planning match their priorities? report shows that 46% of women in the UK believe it is solely their responsibility to ensure their family has enough income should the unexpected happen to them.

However there are approximately 13 million women with no form of financial protection at all, with 17% believing that major budget decisions would need to be made in the event of a death or serious illness

Aegon protection director, Stephen Crosbie, said: “Protection is there to replace an individual’s income when unexpected events occur: in the worst case scenario this covers death, but it can also support when people are struck by serious illness.

“It’s an important safety net that can help meet a family’s monthly expenses, ranging from mortgage payments to the supermarket shopping.

“However, the reality is far too many women in the UK are putting themselves and their families at unnecessary risk by not taking steps to protect themselves, despite the pressure they feel to provide for and support their children.”

After analysing the opinions of 2,000 women, Aegon found that for 28%, the inability to support themselves or their families was their greatest financial fear.

Cost was reported as the main barrier to better protecting themselves and their family, with 48% saying that it was too expensive, despite the average cost of a policy for a 35-year-old non-smoking female being £7.01.

In addition a fifth of respondents said that they did not see getting protection as a priority, with 19% thinking it was a waste of money.

“Many women cite cost as the reason for not buying protection, but £7.01 a month is a relatively low price to pay for peace of mind,” Crosbie continued.

“There’s a clear opportunity here for the industry and advisers alike to raise awareness among women about the value protection can provide.

“Across the UK people insure their homes, their pets and their mobiles but overlook the vital component that funds all of their day-to-day spending – them.”

Of those without protection, 38% said that they would rely on their own savings if they couldn’t work for six months, despite only 16% believing that they would support them for that long, a further 16% not having any savings at all, and just 13% thinking their savings would last a year or more.

As well as savings, 35% of women said that they would rely on their partner’s income to support them, in spite the fact that 49% said they relied on two incomes to meet their day-to-day costs and other essential expenses.

“Women expect to rely on savings but the sums often don’t add up with relatively few people having substantial cash savings to fall back on,” Crosbie added.

“There’s a gap in understanding that both providers and advisers need to work together to close, to make sure that people have a lifetime of financial security and don’t get a nasty shock at the worst possible time.”