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Permanent set to be first with net underwriting

Permanent Insurance is set to become the first provider to offer online underwriting for protection products through IFAs&#39 websites.

The interactive facility, starting in July, will allow consumers to get quotes, send applications and underwrite their policies online through intermediary sites.

Permanent says the ser- vice will allow IFAs to compete with direct brokers such as Direct Line and new entrant EasyLife. It says the initia-tive is in response to the increasing pressure on pro-viders&#39 margins.

The facility will initially offer term insurance and critical-illness cover while income protection will be added later in the year.

IFAs can have the service hotlinked to their own sites but it will also be offered through Misys.

It has been widely anticipated within the industry that Parliament will approve digitised signatures before the present session ends. Permanent says once this has been approved for applications and direct debits, the whole process should take 15 minutes.

Sales and marketing manager Rod Macdonald says: “There is more pressure on margins but there is only so much money in the pot. The real savings will come when we are in a position to cut out the underwriters and need fewer people to key in application forms.

“The aim is to help IFAs compete in the electronic world against direct brokers such as Direct Line and EasyLife.”


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