Mortgage Solutions this week reported on a new protection start-up from Gryphon Group Holdings, which has promised to deliver a more technologically-savvy proposition than is currently available to the intermediary market.
David Sheppard, managing director at Perception Finance, said that many insurers have failed to improve their use of technology, and suggested this may be down to legacy systems which require a lot of money in order to be updated.
He continued: “One exception to that is Royal London who were fortunate to be launching afresh from the brands of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident so needed to spend the money anyway and as a result have given applicants the ability to answer all of their underwriting questions online via a link they send. This needs to be rolled out widely I believe.
“It does not end there though. Insurers need to look at the whole process of quotations right through to an on-risk policy to see how technology can smooth the process to engage more people to want to take out cover.”
Technology can help sell protection
James Mole, head of mortgages at Gingko Independent, argued that technology can make it easier to sell protection products, so it’s important for insurers to use it more.
He continued: “I think the most innovative of the protection providers has probably been Vitality. Although not usually the cheapest option, the superb line up of extras actually appeal to people. I think being technology friendly is certainly needed in this day and age, and providers that don’t prioritise this will inevitably lose out, but they will lose a lot more by not taking note of what providers like Vitality are doing.”
Helen Pierson, head of business development at Mortgage Bureau, said that the ability to build menu-based protection plans is a real help to brokers and clients, but noted that some providers’ systems are “clunky at best” and do not accommodate menu plans well, if at all.
She continued: “Some of the information a client needs to give can be sensitive, deeply personal, and, as such difficult for some to articulate to a relative stranger. Those providers that allow questionnaires to be sent to the client electronically to complete themselves offer comfort and display greater sensitivity, by enabling the client to choose the time and the place to complete it, and the adviser forethought before addressing the information with the client.”
However, the personal touch remains important. She concluded: “The ability for an adviser to be able to speak to an underwriter quickly – and without being on hold for what seems like an eternity in some cases – in order to discuss individual details and obtain a final decision as quickly as possible is also key.
“Anything that providers can do in order to make the transaction as easy as possible is great but they should not be selected just because they are easier tech-wise than the others.”