View more on these topics

Two will not become one says Friends Prov and Resolution

As Resolution and Friends Provident try to push through their merger they have already announced the likely fate of the two protection outfits – Friends Prov and Scottish Provident.

Two will not become one in this case, despite the Spice Girls reforming.

Friends Provident chief executive Ben Gunn says the current plan is to keep the two businesses separate, running in parallel with each other. He says the two operations are different propositions and have different product ranges so bringing them together would not be the best option.

But advisers predicted they would join forces with some claiming the two would complement each other.

Lifesearch head of protection strategy Kevin Carr says: “Both companies have a strong product range, particularly Scottish Provident. But some things have lagged in the past five years since it has been in Resolution’s hands particularly online submission and tele-underwriting which is where Friends Provident is very strong.”

But Gunn has not ruled out sharing elements of the two companies.

Axa has come under attack for encouraging CBK principal Peter Chadborn to tick a box on its online application form for life and critical illness cover confirming that his client was present when the form was being filled out when in fact they were not.

CBK decided to separate the advice service from its selling process a number of years ago. This means after the adviser has recommended a product the client takes home the application form to fill out in their own time. Once completed and sent back the information is keyed into the insurer’s online application form by an office manager.

In this case, the office manager noticed a clause which essentially stopped her from continuing unless she ticked a box to confirm the client was with her as she filled out the form.

Chadborn contacted Axa which recommended he tick the box, submit the application online and then submit the paper application as well, which the client had signed.

He says: “I am not satisfied because, first, we would be making a declaration that we know to be false, second, should there be a non-paid claim or complaint in the future, we have created a weak link in the process upon which the outcome could hinge and, third, all we would have for protection would be a phone conversation with an insurer telling us that this would be OK, with no security or reassurance.”

Axa apologises for the incident and spokesperson Peter Webb says “we would not want any situation where an adviser is ticking a box confirming something that is not true so we will be looking into this”.

Finally, Bright Grey’s Roger Edwards has claimed Defaqto’s method of scoring critical illness products may spark an “illness race” where insurers add extra illnesses which provide little to no value, simply to boost their Defaqto score.

Defaqto gives each condition a score out of five and Edwards believes many insurers, spurred on by their marketing departments, may add more simply to get a competitive advantage.

He says: “I wonder if, because companies can rack up quite high scores, we will see a return to the illness race? A provider with the third highest rating could pull another two illnesses, such as rocky mountain spotty fever, out of the air and get extra points which will leap frog them in front of other companies.”

But Defaqto head of life and protection Nick Telfer believes the majority of advisers are considering the individual client’s needs and looking for a policy which meets them and he says many are doing this with Defaqto’s Aequos Engage database.


Simmonds will carry on Thinc’s growth strategy

Thinc Group’s new chief executive John Simmonds will continue the firm’s policy of achieving growth organically and by acquisition.Simmonds took over as chief executive last week following Simon Chamberlain’s decision to retire from the business. He is keen to reassure Thinc advisers that it is business as usual and the company will continue in the […]

Out of context

“What’s the correct etiquette for a fetish night?”Aegon’s Kevin Brown ponders the evening ahead “I’d stick to journalism, Sam. Have you ever met a happy IFA?”an anonymous IFA “I gave up with Harry Potter at the fourth book. The pensions ombudsman annual report was more entertaining”Hargreaves Lansdown’s Tom McPhail “I feel like I’m at preschool […]

Threadneedle picks new chief executive

Crispin Henderson has taken the reins as chief executive at Threadneedle as part of a senior management reshuffle at the firm.Previously managing director, Henderson took over on August 1, with current chief executive Simon Davies becoming executive chairman with responsibility for client relationships, strategy and talent management within the business.As chief executive, Henderson will be […]

HIPs criticised for not detailing flood risk

Home Information Packs have come under fire for failing to require sellers to admit if their home is a flood risk.Conservatives have said that the scheme was “utterly untrustworthy and misleading” because new figures showed that one in ten new houses had been built on flood plains.A parliamentary written answer reveals that 10 per cent […]

Childcare - thumbnail

Three questions for employers…

The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual survey has been widely reported in the media and the two headline figures were these: the average cost of a nursery place for a child under two has risen by 33 per cent since 2010; and the costs have risen by five per cent in a single year.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment