Why is LifeSearch doing more in the group risk space?
Our advisers told us they would like to do more business protection. Initially the route to market was small business owners receiving advice about their personal protection needs and then wanting to extend cover. It started with relevant life, and then key person, shareholder protection, partner protection, and then into group life, group IP and group CIC. This has been a logical evolution for our advisers.
How would you typify the group protection space when compared to the individual protection sector?
The range of providers is more limited in number, but we can always provide whet the customer needs. The distribution side is more intriguing – it seems the key distributors are focused on the giant companies and their needs, while there are lots of companies not getting the advice they need on protection. This is a quirk that is an opportunity for us.
How successful has your drive into the group sector been?
We are protecting over 80 new businesses a week. These are businesses that are new to us -sourced from our individual business but also from successful relationships with wealth managers. They range in size from one to two people to several hundreds, with turnovers in the many millions.
And how much business has that translated into?
In 2018 we arranged £957m of workplace protection, through 4,636 policies. We believe this might make us the most prolific intermediary in the sector in terms of new business.
Are you facing much competition for these new SME clients?
No – we are not competing with EBCs and there isn’t a lot of other competition out there. We aren’t bumping into many other advisers out there in the market.
How long have you been targeting workplace protection?
We started in 2015 when we first got advisers competent to transact in this sector. That service is tied to Scottish Widows but we can go elsewhere for other products.
Will you be targeting the corporate healthcare market?
Not any time soon. We find the group PMI market a complicated sector, we want to stick to what we do well.