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Axa shines at Lifesearch awards

Axa blitzed this year’s Lifesearch protection awards, winning six out of 11 possible categories, including best overall provider.

The life office, which is currently trialing a guaranteed life insurance product with Lifesearch, also won most improved provider, best new initiative, best underwriting team and the award for Treating Customers Fairly. Axa protection account manager Naomi Greatorex won best individual impact.

Legal & General bagged the best service provider and best e-commerce provider this year after cleaning up last year, taking home six awards.

The best critical illness provider, best income protection provider and best marketing and communications categories were won by Bupa, Pioneer and Aegon Scottish Equitable respectively.

Axa protection managing director Graham Harvey says: “This is a fantastic achievement. I am particularly pleased that not only did we win the overall award as best protection provider but we also won the most improved provider. That demonstrates how far we have come in such a short space of time. Clearly, the level of service we provide across all departments was a very important factor but it was also pleasing to see special recognition for our underwriting team.”

Lifesearch advisers vote for the protection provider that most impressed them during the past year. These votes are tallied to find the winners.

In other news, Bupa has relaunched its individual income protection plan so it now offers cover up to age 70 in line with changes to age discrimination legislation.

The plan’s mortgage outlay cover has increased so that up to 140 per cent of the initial mortgage benefit can be covered to help customers pay extra expenses such as council tax and utility bills.

Bupa has introduced a carer’s benefit to the product so that, if a policyholder’s dependant suffers from a condition covered by the plan the policyholder can now receive a lump sum benefit, which they can use to cover the cost of care.

The firm has also introduced a two-year limited benefit period, in order to help reduce premiums, meaning benefits may be paid out for up to two years following a claim.

The revamped plan can be submitted online via Bupa’s recently launched extranet which the firm says turns around applications in an average of 20 minutes – from initial decision to final acceptance.

Bupa individual protection product and marketing manager Steve Casey says: “We are delighted to be able to offer our flexible income protection product to our supporting intermediaries both online and on paper. The latest award of a five star rating for our income protection product from Defaqto also helps underline our commitment to offering quality products, at a competitive price whilst simplifying the process of submitting business.”

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