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Friends is first with online IP applications

Friends Provident is the first provider to deliver an online income-protection application which it hopes will boost IP business which has fallen by 12 per cent in total, according to Swiss Re&#39s 2004 protection report.

Advisers can submit customer applications via the internet and track an application.

The application does not require a signature and is automatically validated to speed up the process.

Advisers who submit IP applications online will get an extra 5 per cent initial commission. Advisers registered with Assureweb, The Exchange and Webline portals will have access to the system.

Friends and four other off-ices control 60 per cent of IP sales in the UK. Friends sold 17,702 of the total market of 216,00 individual IP policies last year.

Head of protection marketing Peter Hamilton says: “Making protection applications available online will simplify the process and encourage greater take-up.”

Cambourne Financial Plan-ning director Mark Loydall says: “Friends are obviously keen to promote income protection and they have to be congratulated on their online achievement but to link it to sales is a wild jump. IP is notoriously difficult to sell and an underwriting system has very little chance to boost it.”

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