View more on these topics

Ian McKenna: Zurich’s app is a great leap in case tracking


We are all human so even the best-run businesses make mistakes. The important thing is to fix them as quickly as possible.

Therefore, any service that helps advisers to act quickly to remedy oversights has to be valuable. Who has never left the office only to remember while travelling home that they did not provide a promised update for a particular client? Or, heaven forbid, that they forgot to put a policy on risk?

M-Office is a great new app from Zurich which can help protection advisers to address any such situations in a timely fashion. 

And it does a great deal more to make the adviser’s life easier. It enables 24-hour access to the status of pipeline protection applications in any location where a mobile phone or WiFi signal is available.

I am delighted to see a provider seeking to differentiate itself with the quality of its pipeline tracking proposition. This area has long suffered from under-investment by life companies despite being an opportunity for individual insurers to clearly differentiate themselves from their competitors.

It is regrettable that Origo’s tracking initiative a decade ago failed to achieve traction. Invariably, insurers cite this example when dismissing calls for delivery of better pipeline tracking.

Ten years later, surely it is time for the industry to get over this and recognise that delivering accurate tracking information is a great way to both provide a better service to advisers and take huge costs out of provider call centres.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that as many as two in three calls to new business departments are some form of tracking enquiry. Failing to find a smarter way to address
such enquiries is a wholesale waste of money.

Zurich has clearly seen this opportunity and is grasping it with both hands. Both the service it is providing and the manner of its delivery demonstrate a clear commitment to be really supportive of protection advisers.

While other life offices continue to carp on about the failure of an initiative a decade ago, Zurich has focused on delivering what advisers need. The company first showed me this service a few months ago and although M-Office has been delivered at an impressive speed, it is also noticeable that Zurich has listened to feedback during the process and built in extra functionality while maintaining an aggressive schedule.

Mobile apps are an excellent mechanism through which to deliver such support. They can include the necessary embedded security for such communications while using the same log-in credentials that the adviser uses to access their adviser extranet.

On entry to M-Office, users see a summary screen where filters separate the app into the main categories of information sought by advisers, such as: cases in progress, cases that can be put on risk, those that are due to expire and, most importantly, applications that require adviser action or have been recently updated. 

Users can configure the ways in which the data is presented to better reflect their own pipeline tracking processes.

A “By status” tab allows the adviser to see how many cases they have at each stage of the application process. Users selecting the “In progress” option see all their cases by client name and reference number. 

The search function at the top of the screen enables the adviser to quickly find the case they are looking for by typing the name of the client.

On selecting a particular client, the viewable information is expanded, showing the status of the case, when it was last updated, the sum assured, outstanding requirements and agent’s reference.

If more information is required, the adviser can move to a full case tracking screen. This offers more information than we have seen in any similar service from any other provider tracking system.

It is great to see a life office delivering such clear data – such as when a case was last updated, the date of last status change, the expiry date, the number of days in the pipeline and the number of outstanding requirements – in such a readily accessible environment and whenever an adviser needs it.

This is where apps can be so much more user-friendly than extranets for advisers. There are still more features we would like Zurich to add but it is important to recognise what a big step this service represents in giving advisers easy access to the information they need to better service their clients. 

M-Office updates information every four hours and while we would like to see this happening in real time, four hours is a big improvement on many other offerings. 

The app also includes a secure messaging facility so that the adviser can update or instruct Zurich on specific cases. 

Overall, the app is very efficient at showing the adviser what is required for each case. It could evolve further by providing a better explanation of what has already happened and Zurich is looking at how such content can be added.

Although this is only the first step in a much wider app-driven support infrastructure for advisers, the initial release of M-Office provides the information advisers need where and when they want it. This demonstrates a clear commitment by Zurich to service delivery. 

Other protection providers would do well to follow this lead.

 Ian McKenna is director of the Finance & Technology Research Centre

A more detailed review of the M-Office can be found at



‘8% commission is irrelevant’: How Santander investment advisers failed customers

Santander investment advisers told customers that commission of almost 8 per cent was “irrelevant” and classed investors who said they “did not want anything risky” as high risk, an FCA investigation has found. The FCA has fined Santander £12.4m after finding “significant deficiencies” in the bank’s suitability processes, communications and training of advisers following a […]


FCA fines and bans insurance broker for submitting false documents

The FCA has banned a director of an insurance intermediary firm and fined him £7,200 for submitting false documents to insurers. Philip Eley, a director at Eley Insurance Services Limited, deliberately falsified no claims discount letters relating to 10 customers’ policies and submitted them to an insurer. Eley Insurance Services is an insurance intermediary covering […]


Standard Life reveals full discounted fund list

Standard Life has revealed further pricing details on the discounted fund deals it has secured through its platform, with fund discounts of up to 0.57 per cent. Following negatiations with fund groups, the company has agreed preferential terms on 291 funds. Of those, 198 mutual funds are offered at a discount while the other 93 funds […]


The stamp duty reform that got away

Ahead of the Budget last week, the Financial Times reported George Osborne was considering a new stamp duty band of 2 per cent on homes worth between £250,000 and £300,000 due to concerns about the sharp jump from 1 per cent to 3 per cent at £250,000 leading to many homes being under-priced. Many in the […]

Guide cover

Guide: Johnson Fleming produces auto-enrolment checklist

For a job as big as managing the auto-enrolment changes, it’s important to know what has been completed and what still lies in front of you to give you the reassurance that everything is in hand. Getting the planning and project management right at the outset can help you see the path ahead and ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. To help with this, Johnson Fleming has produced a checklist outlining every step that needs to be taken when preparing for auto-enrolment.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Yes but who wants lots of apps from different life offices? I’d prefer it all in my own system where I can see the whole pipeline not just the Zurich part of it.

  2. @AccountsLady Whilst a multi provider app would be great, it needed one provider to move to make tracking a competitive issue. As I have said above I think Zurich’s efforts have move the market forward, this lays down a challenge to other providers to respond. The existence of this app actually makes the emergence an aggregated app covering all providers far more likely to happen.

  3. Sods —– Law.
    March.—- 2014.

    For almost two decades we have strived to get justice for the injustice we have suffered at the hands of a world renowned bank— PICTET & CIE. BANK.

    Two yorkshiremen both running their own small family businesses trying to resolve the problem by taking all the correct legal procedures to recover their monies.

    The matter was raised in Parliament – twice– the FSA investigated the matter concluding that PICTET had rogues operating in their London Bank — but the rogues had left —saying no one left to prosecute.??? —– so there.

    We then approached the Financial Ombudsman Service. (FOS) — our case was dealt with by seven different people —- then our numerous E-Mails were ignored — nobody would speak to us ——-so there.

    We then asked the SFO ( Serious Fraud Office.) to investigate our case —- the criteria of our case ticked all their boxes. — we were instructed not to send them
    any documents/evidence.—— in fact they wrote to us advising us to go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.(CAB.)
    Richard Alderman the SFO boss —- who responded to our letter was the same man who would not investigate the “ Madoff” scandal or the “Libor” fiasco.
    The MP’s committee —- said he was sloppy— and the SFO was run like “ Fred Karno’s Circus” —– it was an office of fraud.—– so there.

    Our M.P. approached our local Chief Constable to investigate—– he was called—- Sir Norman Bettison— Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police —- a force that made “ Dad’s Army” look like the S.A.S. They were inept – corrupt —malicious — from top to bottom. We were criminally dealt with by the Forces Solicitor—- the Head of the Economic Crime Unit —-and the Chief Constable —– so there.

    We were then advised to pass our complaint against West Yorkshire Police to the I.P.C.C. – which we did — they advised us to make our complaint to —- the West Yorkshire Police — we did with reluctance — all we got was abuse and obfuscation. —– so there.

    Sir Norman Bettison —- The Forces solicitor— and the Head of the Economic Crime —- have all been removed from their posts and facing criminal allegations.
    —— so there.

    We even sought justice through the Courts — culminating in a visit to the Court of Appeal-London.— On leaving the Courts of Appeal that day our barrister a “rising star” informed us — that if that was Justice then you can keep it. He quit the law and moved to Canada —– so there.

    A few years later we learned that one of the judges in our case at the Court of Appeal was related to a senior executive of the Pictet Bank —–so there.

    Pictet & Cie .Bank — voted private bank of the year 2013.
    Ivan Pictet —- Voted banker of the year 2012. —- the senior partner — lied on numerous occasions and had documents destroyed — also said genuine documents were forgeries. —– so there.

    Ivan Pictet in Oct. 2013 —- Given the Legion of Honour — but saying that —- honours were given to Hitler — Eichmann — Mussolini —Franco — he’s in fitting company. —-so there.

    MONTY RAPHAEL.Q.C. — Peters & Peters.London. They were the banks lawyers.
    Monty Raphael.Q.C. along with Ivan Pictet withheld crucial documents requested by the High Court —- the FSA —- and the police Fraud Squad. —-so there.

    Monty Raphael.Q.C. became an Honorary Queens Counsellor in March. 2012.
    Monty Raphael.Q.C. became a Master of the Bench in Nov.2012.
    An expert in Fraud —the Doyen of Fraud Lawyers. —– so there.

    This says a lot about Banks — the consensus of opinion is that they are highly paid “crooks” —- no wonder they voted Ivan Pictet banker of the year.

    It appears that crimes in the “establishment.” are honoured by their peers.

    Full Story.—- “google or Yahoo ”


    Ivan Pictet.Banker.
    Monty Raphael.Q.C.
    Ivan Pictet/Monty Raphael.

  4. I welcome any development from a provide, but we (Towergate) have had a universal tracker system available for over 3 years, irrespective of the provider we utilise for our clients protection planning. We use the LifeQuote system as it negates the need to ring 15 different providers and it’s online whenever we need it.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm