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LifeQuote feeds protection need

Sam Shaw looks at LifeQuote’s system which is offering a tailored approach

Direct Life & Pensions claims its LifeQuote online system Intelligent Protection will tailor quotes for clients’ needs rather than just compare prices.

Parent firm Skipton says it will provide clients with more comprehensive protection at better value.The system has been developed for 12 months and tested with 30 protection advisers since last November. It will be introduced in Skipton branches in the first quarter and a training programme for staff started last week.

DLP believes the technol- ogy could bring a commission bonus for advisers as the choice shown by the system is likely to mean that clients take out more comprehensive cover at higher premiums.

Managing director Michael Ward says: “Commission is generally paid out on a sum multiple of the premium paid out. For instance, if an average customer pays 17 a month, we would estimate that using this system would increase that premium to about 24 a month because the client is seeing the benefits available to them on screen. Therefore, the premium increa- ses because the client is buy- ing better protection and the IFA gets paid more commiss- ion as the provider gets more business.”

The product suite includes level term assurance, index- linked term assurance, mortgage protection, decreasing term assurance, family income benefit, income protection, payment protection insurance, ASU and critical-illness cover.

The system is compliant with FSA requirements and allows IFAs to save and ret- rieve data with a full audit trail that can be revised without the need for a new applica- tion form.

LifeQuote believes there is an enormous need for more protection, with the gap estimated at around 2.46tn but it warns that a compliance gap is building, with many advisers needing support to meet regulatory requirements since general insurance regulation was introduced.

Product providers and IFAs have broadly welcomed the new system but some advisers feel it may be dumbing down the advice process for clients with more complicated needs, making it more suitable for high-street banks and building societies.

DLP says the system will mean that providers will have to ensure that service levels are maintained and it will be constantly reviewing providers using the software to ensure that they are up to scratch.

The service is launching with a 28-day free trial and will then be free to advisers using LifeQuote’s Express Underwriting system. Other advisers can use it for 19.95 a month.

Ward says: “If the providers do not deliver, we lose out. We will be keeping a close eye on service standards.”

Scottish Provident head of life and health propositions Sue Wilkinson says: “Holistic protection advice may be daunting to an intermediary who is new to protection or those who have been recommending very basic protection for mortgage purposes. These advisers may feel that they are at greater regulatory risk.

“This tool allows an intermediary to get the best possible combination of appro- priate benefits in record time. It means that they can meet the need of the customer or fit the needs closest to their budget.”

CBK principal Peter Chadborn says: “The system is user-friendly, it asks all the right questions and prompts the user to think about and prioritise the client’s needs.

“What I particularly like is that although it throws up the cheapest quotes, the user can view alternative quotes to decide whether more comp- rehensive benefits are available for little extra cost. It will not necessarily appeal to the specialist protection adviser bu I can imagine big distributors such as banks and networks using this system.”

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