Protection specialist Life Policies Direct has given Scottish Widows a failing grade for its online underwriting systems, saying it is the least successful available.
The broker has graded six online extranet submission and underwriting systems, concluding that Legal & General has the best online provision and Widows has the worst.
The sites are graded out of 10 in 11 areas, including reliability, ease of use, phone support and online tracking.
LPD completes about 90 per cent of its business online. Managing director Jason King praises L&G's offering for its simplicity, functionality and reliability.
Friends Provident is sec-ond place and Liverpool Victoria is third. The survey says Widows' main problem is reliability.
King says those sites driven by “techies and underwriters” can become overly technical. He concedes that technical underwriting is becoming more prevalent but says prov-iders can lose sight of advisers who still want to interact with clients.
He says: “On the Widows site, clean cases are easy to input but it becomes cumbersome when anything other than a standard case is submitted and it is difficult to navigate.”
Widows spokeswoman Paula Sutherland says: “Our functionality is market-leading. We are very surprised that there have been problems.”
LPD is one of 10 IFAs testing Norwich Union's pilot online system which will be ready for launch in the summer.
NU protection market manager Louise Pritchard says: “We have been getting feedback on the robustness of the server and are in the process of enhancing the capability.”