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‘Protection service is going to get much better’

Friends Life has pledged to deliver more consistent protection service standards across its brands when it moves to a single operating platform later this year.

In June, the company set out plans to consolidate the individual protection propositions of Friends Provident, Axa Life and Bupa Health Assurance on to a single platform for new business.

Bupa’s existing operating platform is being improved to run the integrated individual protection business.

Friends Life managing director for protection Steve Payne says: “At the moment, advisers have a mixed experience. We have some advisers who place business on one of our operating platforms and some through other platforms. After October, it will be much simpler. I am grateful to advisers for bearing with us while we have some inconsistency of delivery through the three systems we are using. It is going to be much better next year.”

Payne says the protection focus will be on critical-illness and income protection products and its menu-based proposition.

He adds he is aware of advisers’ concerns that service levels will suffer following the decision to split operations between open and closed books. He says: “We want to deliver a consistent and positive experience for all the customers within Friends Life.”

Axxis Financial Planning director Owen Wintersgill says: “Currently, I have to find and take quotes to clients from all three platforms, so merging them will simplify the process.”

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