Protection challenger looks to woo advisers at launch

Protection challenger looks to woo advisers at launch

Guardian, insurance newcomer Gryphon's protection business, has officially launched in the UK with a suite of products expected throughout 2018.

Simon Davis, chief executive of Guardian, said the new company will focus on offering non-investment based life cover, critical illness cover and income protection products, through intermediary advice partners.

The protection company will also use cloud-based technology in a smarter way, he said, to make the process of taking out and claiming on policies simpler and easier.

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He also pledged to make the client-adviser relationship easier, adding: "Advisers' lives will be better as working with us will be better, and customers' lives will be better because the service and products will be better."

The suite of products is expected to come from May onwards, and one of the pledges from Guardian is that the company will simplify and broaden definitions to make them easier to understand and easier to make claims.

It has been many years since a protection-only provider launched in the UK; the last insurance brand to do so was Bright Grey in 2003. This was subsumed into the Royal London brand in 2014. 

Speaking at the launch event for Guardian, newly appointed chairman Peter Mann, who recently stepped down from his role as vice chairman of Old Mutual Wealth after 12 years at the company, commented: "We do not want to overcomplicate things. We understand the issues people have, and will try to address these in a simple way.

"A key part of that will be to build trust. 

"Moreover, we know we need to engage solely with advisers to help make their clients' relationships better."

Mr Mann added: "We want to disturb a market that needs to be disturbed."

During its inception, Guardian has been liaising with financial advisory firms and support services groups, such as SimplyBiz. 

According to Matt Timmins, joint chief executive of the SimplyBiz Group, the support services provider has been working with the company for several months on developing protection propositions. 

He told FTAdviser: "We are delighted to see Mr Mann take on the role of chairman and we wish him every success. For the last 18 months we have been helping the team with their proposition development and distribution strategy.

"We have contributed to Guardian's product testing and believe they have all of the attributes to succeed in this competitive market. We are confident they have preserved all of the key attributes of the Guardian heritage, while modernising the proposition to ensure customers are at the heart of what its does." 

"Protection is such an important part of financial planning and it is a real delight to see such a strong and wonderful brand back in the market."

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

At the time, Mr Davis said the newcomer has already raised £180m of investment funding, and the technology build is currently underway, and will be piloting the operational infrastructure in 2018 as part of a phased market launch.