The National Australia Bank and its wealth management arm MLC have rolled out the first of a number of bundled products, expected to include a reverse mortgage, scheduled for this year.

The Protected Loan bundles a home loan and income protection insurance to enable a customer to cover loan repayments if they become seriously ill or involuntarily unemployed. “We needed to make it easy to understand. That’s why a lot of people aren’t buying insurance. It’s too complicated,” MLC chief executive officer, Steve Tucker, said. Citing IFSA statistics that found just 4 per cent of Australians were sufficiently insured Tucker said the bank and MLC set about trying to make consumers think more about insurance. “There are far more homes that are lost through people that can’t make their home loan repayments than are burnt down,” he said The product is a result of a review of how the bank and wealth management divisions can work better at cross-selling products. At least two more bundled products are scheduled for this year and reverse mortgages are definitely on the horizon. “The whole retirement incomes issue is one that’s very important to us. We see some great opportunities there…Reverse mortgages are becoming quite popular and interesting for people,” Tucker said. But reverse mortgages will not be the “first cab off the rank”, Tucker said. The Protected Loan will be offered through NAB bankers and will not require a referral to a financial planner for the insurance component. According to Andrew Thorburn, NAB executive general manager for retail banking in Australia, the combined insurance and home loan package is only slightly more expensive than an average home loan. “It’s cheaper than taking out both products separately because as the loan amount falls so do your premiums,” he said. In the interests of simplicity factors such as health and employment type are not considered. Also on the back of NAB’s recent rebranding campaign MLC will also launch a major advertising campaign this week.

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