Advisers urge Scot Wids to focus on CI and IP innovation


Protection advisers have urged Scottish Widows to focus on developing new critical illness and income protection products after it announced plans to re-enter the IFA protection and annuity spaces.

Currently, Widows offers a protection plan through its direct channels, from which customers have a choice of options including term life cover, critical illness and whole of life cover.

Widows, which pulled out of the IFA protection space in June 2008, says it has not yet decided which product areas it will focus on for its adviser proposition.

Announcing its intention to re-enter the IFA annuity and protection sectors, Lloyds Banking Group director of insurance Toby Strauss (pictured) says: “The IFA market is a core channel for us and we will be working closely with IFAs to ensure we not only create a new and enhanced product offering but also deliver these in a way that caters for their needs in what is a rapidly changing market.”

Axxis Financial Planning director Owen Wintersgill says: “Life insurance is a fiercely competitive market, so if Widows comes back solely in that sector it might well struggle to write business.

“It would be great if it could bring something new to the table. Critical illness and income protection are not particularly crowded at the moment, so it would be good to see a new entrant in these areas.”

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “The CI market and the IP market is crying out for innovation and for providers to use common sense terminology. There is a big gap in these sectors, so it would be good to see if Scottish Widows would be looking to bring out a new type of plan.”

Master Adviser senior partner Roy McLoughlin says: “I think this is a welcome readmission into the IFA protection club. With consolidation and the withdrawal of companies from the market, new faces coming in have got to be good. And we definitely need more innovation, especially on the critical illness and income protection side of things.”