With Assura Protect having recently launched their new Guaranteed Acceptance Life and Critical Illness Product in the UK, Assura Insight (AI) sat down with Charles John (C.J.) Donley to review the product and the changing landscape of the insurance industry. (Interview Excerpts)
AI: Welcome, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
C.J.: You are very welcome. It’s is an exciting time for us at Assura Protect.
AI: Your new product, Assura Protect, covers an interesting niche in the retail Life and Critical Illness market – providing insurance for individuals do not qualify for traditional protection due to health or for other reasons. Please tell us more, how did this come about?
C.J.: To begin I would not classify this as a niche market here in the United Kingdom. The latest statistics we have show that almost 25% of those currently searching for Life Cover can’t get the cover they need or they are faced with very prohibitive premiums and / or riders. The how and why we launched this product is due to a confluence of factors. One, our family, like many other families, have been deeply touched by all the implications associated having diseases like cancer. Two, as an investor in the insurance sector we noticed that far too many of our customers were not getting the cover they needed. Three, advisors told us directly that they wanted a real, more comprehensive, solution for their clients. More comprehensive than the existing guaranteed acceptance products in the market such as accident-only cover, over 50’s plans, or funeral policies and with their de minimus amount of cover and or their “interesting” premium structures.
AI: How does the policy work and what are the terms?
C.J. It is a very simple product. Guaranteed acceptance and full cover if you are aged between 18-61 which can be renewed up to age 68 if required. The product comes with a material amount of cover of up to 100K for Life and 50K for Critical Illness Protection and requires no medical, GP reports, or lengthy applications. I had a client tell me that they successfully took out a policy, from start to finish, in under 10 minutes. While we don’t cover pre-existing conditions, if you remain symptom free and treatment free for a period of 2 years we will remove that restriction on your policy. [I truly believe that this is the fairest proposition in the market.]
AI: Impressive – How is this done?
C.J.: We, together with our partners, keep a tight control of risk (both actuarial and financial) and costs while also heavily investing in technology to both streamline the customer journey and product delivery. This is the main driver for why our products are not offered on any insurance aggregator sites. For starters those sites are both expensive, and complicated – as it is very difficult for the client to track how the underlying “introductions” on these platforms work. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, our platform is both simpler and faster with a much smoother customer journey.
AI: So how do Advisors fit into your business strategy?
C.J.: I like to think we have a different approach to how we work with Advisors. Quite simply they are our partners. There is no disintermediation between channels. For example, we will give our partner Advisors full access to on-line digital channels. This helps them to reach a wider customer base and facilitate an easier client journey and experience. The Assura philosophy is that all our partners should benefit. Policyholders get the cover they need while our Advisors feel and know there is 100% alignment of interests with Assura Protect.
Charles John (C.J.) Donley
Managing Director Assura Protect