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Product matters

the bright pink corporate colours, everything about Bright Grey, Royal London&#39s new protection arm, dares to be different.

It has launched a plan incorporating life, critical illness, income protection and premium protection, the latter two for both sickness and unemployment.

Anyone receiving the business launch pack can be forgiven for dismissing it as tacky junk mail. But closer inspection shows a great deal of time has been spent in putting together a clear application form and key features.

Bright Grey openly admits the application form is longer than most, in the attempt to reduce time wasted on underwriting.

There are more questions than one would expect, but none that have not been encountered on someone else&#39s application. If the result is a reduction in costs on our part and the underwriting saving is passed on to clients, then all to the good.

Bright Grey claim to have designed the product so that cover can be added, removed or even changed. Its website suggests that includes the possibility of changing from smoker to non-smoker, although it is less clear in the event that you start smoking again.

New entrants into the life cover market usually offer little more than an extra few pennies saving a month. Many of the newer critical illness plans are more “us too&#39s” rather than anything different. In these “black and white” areas, Bright Grey may do little but match the rest.

However it is the “grey” areas such as underwriting, administration and flexibility that may give the industry&#39s most colourful provider “added value”.

Steve Petrie is consultant at John Joseph Financial Services

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