New protection provider takes 200-year-old insurer's name

New protection provider takes 200-year-old insurer's name

Guardian has been revealed as the brand name for a new cloud-based protection business being set up in the UK.

Guardian, which was founded in 1821, is set to be the name for newcomer Gryphon's new protection business, which is being developed by former Guardian chief risk officer Simon Davis.

Gryphon bought the 200-year-old insurance company for an undisclosed sum, along with the rights to its trading names.

The new company will focus on offering life cover, critical illness cover and income protection, and is being backed by Punter Southall Group and institutional investor Leadenhall Capital Partners.

According to Mr Davis, chief executive of Gryphon Group Holdings, the newcomer has already raised £180m of investment funding, and the technology build is currently underway.

It is understood Gryphon is set to pilot the operational infrastructure in 2018 as part of a phased market launch, and Gryphon will use the Guardian brand name for the new protection business.

Mr Davis said: "Our ambition is for every family to have protection they truly believe in. Acquiring the name of Guardian is an extremely important step for us, as it gives us a compelling brand name that fits with our values and goals, just as it did when founded 200 years ago.

"This name, combined with our culture and fresh approach to technology, will create a really exciting business that can deliver better protection for families across the country."

Earlier this year, FTAdviser reported that Gryphon's infrastructure will be based on digital and cloud based technologies, built with the support of a number of leading partners.

The core platform technology partner is Liss Systems, a UK company owned by Nasdaq-listed technology group, EXL, and the digital interface technology partner is Space.

Mr Davis added Gryphon was planning to "breathe fresh life into the brand with a new look".

In January 2016, Guardian was acquired by ReAssure and renamed ReAssure Life Limited in June 2016.

Guardian's business – which included around 900,000 annuity, life insurance and pension policies in the UK and Ireland – was transferred to ReAssure Limited in December 2016.

The company was renamed Guardian Assurance Limited in March 2017.

The sale of the Guardian trading name to Gryphon has no impact on the policies transferred to ReAssure Limited. 

Tom Conner, director of insurance for Drewberry, said: "I don't think many people nowadays really know the Guardian name and I am not sure what this branding adds. 

"If Gryphon's market is through advisers, then maybe advisers will have that brand recognition but for a lot of the younger consumer base they would not have heard of the Guardian name. 

"I haven't seen anything from Gryphon on how they will differentiate themselves in terms of the products, only on how it will use technology.