Business Protection – Who offers the best support?
Business Protection is recognised as one of the more complex protection recommendations an adviser will make. Understanding not only the business’s need for protection, but also the monetary risk to the business of losing a key person or shareholder/partner for any length of time is not easy, especially when businesses hold different liabilities and are structured in different ways. Sums assured and related premiums can be substantial so it can be very rewarding, but it can be valuable to have access to expert help. In this week’s insight we look at how providers can help advisers make the most suitable business protection recommendations.
All insurers provide advisers with access to a dedicated business protection support team, who can offer guidance on the technicalities related to their particular case. These teams will be typically formed of senior underwriters and specialists who have a detailed understanding of trust law, corporate law, accounting practices and corporate tax, supplemented with a dedicated support team. They can help advisers understand, not only how the case will be viewed, but also what information is required and the implications of the advice being given based on how the company has been set up.
Throughout the whole process, advisers may need to make multiple calls to such services as new information comes to light. It can be helpful dealing with the same person each time on an individual case, so firms that allocate a specific member of their business support team to each case can save advisers time. The below pie chart shows how companies approach this:
The business protection team are just one aspect of the support services that insurers provide. Advisers need to calculate the necessary sums assured and a company’s level of liability to structure cover correctly.
Ideally this will be addressed by the adviser’s own software, but where these are not available insurers look to provide such tools/calculators which can provide useful assistance. These can save the adviser time and provide collateral to demonstrate how they have come to their recommendation, both for the client and to provide a compliant audit trail for their file.
Further valuable help can come from support materials such as decision trees to guide them through the sales process and ensure that nothing is missed in the application process.
A wide range of support tools are available from different insurers. The table below highlights what is on offer from each company:
In most cases, a business protection case will be time sensitive as the business is at substantial risk until cover is in place. To speed up the process some insurers offer preferential service standards to business protection cases where certain limits are exceeded. The graph below highlights at what sum assured preferential service standards apply, the lower the sum assured the better:
Of all the providers, only Scottish Widows do not explicitly offer a preferential service whilst AEGON will review the plan on a case by case basis. It is also worth mentioning that some insurers will offer preferential terms to high profile individuals, VIPs or celebrity at their own discretion.
The expected turnaround can be a key element in supporting the adviser with a smooth and timely process. The table below shows providers expected turnaround times in hours, both for new submissions and requirements received post submission:
*Old Mutual Wealth have a same day turnaround for applications and subsequent information received before 3pm.
** Royal London have a same day turnaround for applications received before 2pm.
Where a medical is needed, minimising any inconvenience to the insured person can help get things done quickly.
All providers now offer access to a roving doctor if required, which allows the client to be examined at the location and time that suits them best.
As the life assured may have had limited involvement in the discussions about the cover being put in place, the adviser may need to explain why a medical is required. To help with this each insurer will also offer a courtesy call to the life assured before the medical, where they will explain to them the tests that will be carried out, what they are for and what they might need to bring along.
Overall, Royal London stand out from other providers as they offer the broadest all-round packages when it comes to their Business Support Services. They supply a large range of tools and support materials, give access to a specific member of the provider’s team per application and assess each case on its merits to be able to gain preferential terms. AIG and Old Mutual Wealth have exceptional turn around times for applications (if submitted early in the day for Old Mutual Wealth) whilst AEGON provide an extensive range of calculators to aid the advice process.