On Wednesday we published the results for three more insurers on our operational ratings. This week it was the turn of AIG, Aviva and Guardian. Each insurer scored well in many areas of our benchmarking and in this article we look at what impressed us in each proposition.

As we noted in our previous article which highlighted what we benchmarked in our ratings (see here), our assessment considered ten areas that were highlighted by advisers in our “Understanding adviser preferences when dealing with insurers”.

Annual Statements

All three insurers provide annual statements to customers, however Aviva only provide this on Income Protection plans. AIG and Guardian will send these to the client via a secure email and Aviva post a copy directly to the customer. Both AIG and Guardian also provide access to these via their extranet.

In terms of content, all three insurers provide details of the current sum assured (inclusive of any increases or decreases due to escalation or decreasing cover), the current premium and the term of the plan. AIG and Guardian also confirm if the policy is in trust (or a nomination of beneficiary has been made for Guardian) and the servicing advisers details.

Application Process

When submitting an application through their extranet, both AIG and Aviva will automatically remove any features that cannot be offered and provide details of the disclosure that has lead to the removal of the feature and any changes in premium due to this. Aviva and Guardian will both provide an indicative premium if medical or other disclosures are input that require the application to be referred to manual underwriting. All three insurers are able to provide a wide range of decisions through their online application and will give an immediate explanation as to why this decision has been made if it results in non-standard terms or the requirement for further underwriting. Where medical evidence is required each insurers system will inform the user what this.

Claims Processes

Each insurers claims handlers have been given medical training, wider training on how to speak with claimants and more specialist training from support groups or charities. It is also good to see that each insurer will provide claimants with a dedicated point of contact to help them through their claim.

Where the insurer is notified of a claim via telephone they will not request an additional claim form to be completed and both AIG and Guardian will inform the servicing adviser that a claim has been submitted as long as the client provides permission to do so.

On submission of a claim each insurer will discuss the additional services they offer in terms of counselling, rehabilitation, second medical opinion services etc. and feedback is collected where possible both during and after the claim. For critical illness claims Guardian will carry out follow up calls with the claimant to enquire about their recovery and Aviva provide this where an income protection claim has been made.

Tracking Facilities

Email alerts are provided by all three insurers when the case is updated. Within their extranets, advisers are able to view details of when the case was last updated and what the update was. Both AIG and Guardian also supply details of what is due to happen next and the date this will happen.


AIG and Aviva both provide advisers with the ability to create trusts online without the need for signatures. These trusts can be set up and applied to the policy either before or after the policy is put in force. Guardian take a different approach via their payout planner. This enables the client to select who the beneficiaries to whom Guardian are able to make payment to without the need to wait for probate to be granted and the beneficiaries can be changed at any time.

To see how AIG, Aviva and Guardian scored in our new operational ratings click here

The next three insurers in order of ranking will be published next week