Zurich is planning to enter the IFA protection market early next year.
It is understood to be focusing its relaunch on a small number of IFAs and will increase roll-out over 2005. Protection development at Zurich will be headed by protection development manager Gerry Warner, formerly of Standard Life.
Features believed to be included in the launch include a focus on tele-undewriting where additional information can be confirmed confidentially over the phone. A complete overhaul of Zurich's IT systems is planned, to allow IFAs to submit applications online. Zurich is also believed to be looking at reviewable rates for term insurance.
The proposals follow the September appointment of Stephen Leaman as chief executive officer of the Zurich Advice Network. ZAN is the forerunner of Zurich's new directly authorised multi-tie retail distribution company, to be launched next year, subject to regulatory approval.
Warner says: “At the moment, we cannot say more than that we are looking at our IFA protection proposition.”
EVS Limited principal Jared Witherspoon says: “There are some very exciting things happening in protection at the moment and we are seeing some healthy competition coming into the market. Axa is launching soon, Royal Liver has officially launched and Standard Life has rolled out its online capability.”
Life Policies Direct managing director Jason King says: “Providers all want to be in the top four of the market share, so ultimately consumers as well as us will be getting a better deal.
“Providers are either innovating to bring themselves out of the price arena or, if they want market share, are needing to compete on bread and butter propositions.”