Aviva plans to surprise protection market

Aviva plans to surprise protection market

Aviva’s managing director of protection has promised new products this year which “will surprise the market” and promised no more “legacy excuses”.

Louise Colley explained that with the integration of Friends Life now complete - following last year’s acquisition - the combined insurance business was now almost ready to share its strategy for life and protection.

She said future innovations will all be based on its Aviva Life Protection Solutions (ALPS) platform, which was launched last April and means that the provider no longer has “any legacy excuses”.

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Ms Colley said: “We’ve got a three-year roadmap to migrate all the old legacy policies across to ALPS, which will make life easier for IFAs and present more sales opportunities.

“The system is paperless and real time, which is a significant move forward and will help advisers be more efficient with client applications, responding to increasing demands for digital access to track their progress and speedier turnaround of acceptance.”

The first of the firm’s surprises came earlier this week, with Aviva’s launch of the first relevant life plan with integrated critical illness cover.

One of two new business protection products on the online platform, the inclusion of critical illness benefit as an option - which provides individual death in service benefit for an employee - represents a step change, according to advisers.

In terms of merging Friends Life’s protection proposition, Ms Colley explained the complementary nature of the two providers’ specialisms in the sector meant it has been easier than with other parts of the business.

Ms Colley said: “There are further innovations in the pipeline - things like getting doctors reports - but we’re not going to mash products together, we’ll protect the legacy of Friends Life’s Protect Plus.

“The branding will be Aviva, but with clear undertones of Friends Life. I think we will surprise the market when we land new products; the platform allows us to be brave.”

Last October, the two providers combined to launch Income Protection Matters, a campaign to help advisers demonstrate the importance of income protection to clients.

The awareness drive followed both insurers being sponsors of the Seven Families initiative.

Alan Lakey, senior partner at Hertfordshire-based Highclere Financial Services and director at protection analyst CI Expert, said Ms Colley is a true believer in getting more people insured, with all her efforts put into improving the customer experience.

He said: “The recent Relevant Life with CIC was a revelation and indicates how seriously they are treating protection.

“The Friends Life brand commands massive respect and as long as the values and advantages are protected it augurs well for the future.”