Katie Crook-Davies: Be bold and build on what's already been achieved

Protection Reporter spoke with Katie Crook-Davies about her departure from the Income Protection Taskforce (IPTF), the importance of a united front when educating advisers, and what the future holds for IP sales.

Related topics:  IPTF,  interview
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
1st November 2023
Katie Crook-Davies scaled
"I’ve always been fuelled by a passion for protection so when there was an opportunity to join the IPTF as Co-Chair, I couldn't say no."
- Katie Crook-Davies, Managing Director at Tabei & departing Co-Chair of the IPTF

Last week, Katie Crook-Davies announced that she will be stepping down as Co-Chair of the Income Protection Taskforce (IPTF) at the end of the year. As of January 2024, Vicky Churcher will join Jo Miller and Andrew Wibberley as the new Co-Chair of the IPTF to assist the group with promoting awareness of Income Protection (IP) amongst consumers.

READ MORE: Vicky Churcher appointed new IPTF Co-Chair

“It was a conversation with Andrew Wibberley […] IPTF wasn’t something that had been on my radar. He said, ‘what do you think?’ to which I said, ‘of course I want to grow the protection market,' and that was that,” she recalled.

Katie Crook-Davies was appointed Co-Chair of the IPTF in 2021 after ten years in the protection industry. She began her career in the Swiss Re pricing team before moving to Vitality where she supported financial advisers and national distributors on the full suite of protection products. Most recently, Katie co-founded a new actuarial projection model called t+1, inspired by a “desire to do better” and to encourage the industry to “design new propositions in different kinds of ways that work for more customers.”  

READ MORE: t+1: “Enabling change, enabling innovation”

Discussing her proudest achievements with the IPTF over the last three years, Katie said that the growth of the IP market has been the most rewarding. “Ultimately that’s what everything we do at the IPTF is for, growing the IP market," she explained. Referencing Gen Re’s Pulse Report, Katie highlighted that 121,000 IP policies were written in the first half of the year, equating to a year-on-year increase of 22% compared to the year prior. “I’m not saying IPTF is fully responsible for that growth, but I like to think we played a part in it,” she exclaimed. 

“When I joined the IPTF, Andrew, Jo, and I decided on a list of values […] one of those values was to be bold.” This eventually led to the establishment of Ziggy’s Money Moves in May 2021, encouraging Gen Z to protect their income while they’re still young and healthy.

“It’s not a small ask to grow a consumer brand but I’m really proud of the members standing behind the cause and the wider group for giving it a good go.”

Thirdly, Katie was especially pleased with conversations led by the IPTF, particularly around IP and mental health-related claims. “We’ve been very proactive, facilitating that conversation, which is good,” she explained. The IPTF also had several conversations about selling IP without advice in the D2D landscape; “That’s a marmite topic and you’ll find some in our industry are very much for it and others are against, both for valid reasons.” Katie explained that the IPTF felt that potential growth couldn’t be ignored, so they took a “bold stance” and lead the conversation.

When asked how she’d seen the work of the IPTF impact IP sales and education among advisers, Katie felt that awareness and understanding were hard to measure but the growing engagement from individuals outside of the “protection bubble” with Income Protection Awareness Week (IPAW) was encouraging. Katie believes that this increase in wealth and mortgage advisers engaging with IPAW reflects a “desire to have more conversations and get support with IP consultations."

“We tried with IPAW to keep a wealth lens, but I think the mortgage brokers and advisers are the better fit.”

Katie said it’s very important that the IPTF is consistent with the messages it puts across, "so we can create that unified voice.” Especially since advisers often label IP as a “very complicated product with intensive underwriting […] advisers already have so much on their plate, especially with Consumer Duty.”

Looking to the future, Katie said that incoming Co-Chair, Vicky Churcher, brings a “completely fresh perspective […] I think she’s going to be a fantastic influence on the direction of the group, particularly with returning value to members.” Katie hopes that the IPTF continues to “be bold, challenge conversations, and build on what's already been achieved.”

“Uniting the industry with one shared ambition: growing the IP market.”

The IPTF will be presenting plans for 2024 to existing and prospective members on the 21st November. Anyone wishing to attend should email: [email protected]

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