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Widows stops offering protection quotes through portals

Scottish Widows has stopped offering protection quotations through industry portals prompting speculation it may follow Standard Life and abandon the protection market.

Standard Life announced yesterday morning it has pulled out of the protection market due to the pressures of an increasingly price driven market.

Assureweb, The Exchange, Webline, Lifequote, True Potential and Bankhall Online will no longer offer Widows protection quotes but the firm says quotes are still available through its IFA extranet. It says it will now focus distribution through Lloyds TSB.

Protection market director Richard Jones says: “We have conducted a detailed review of our protection offering across all distribution channels and as a result have decided to withdraw the protection quotation service from industry portals.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, but market conditions and our current protection focus means it makes economic sense for us not to continue with the provision of quotations via industry portals at this time.”

Lifesearch head of protection strategy Kevin Carr says: “This is not quite
what Standard Life has done but it is still a phased reduction and I would
expect Widows to pull out of the IFA market completely in time. It costs
money to be on portals and there is not much point in being on them if you
are not taking much new business.

“I don’t think anyone is particularly surprised about this – it has just
confirmed what we already knew. Scottish Widows’ products weren’t
competitive or comprehensive. I don’t think this will make much difference
to the protection market at all. I don’t think it is an indication of any
weakness in the protection market. We have new players like Fortis coming in
next year.”

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