St James’s Place and Essential Insurance are the latest firms to partner with the Protection Distribution Group, raising the lobby group’s member count to 14.
The PDG, formed in 2016, planned to improve the market for consumers and be a ‘force of good for protection’.
Speaking at the time, Barry Pappin, business protection specialist at Vita, said the protection industry was arguably the most important within financial services and that the group represented a fantastic opportunity to make positive changes for customers.
Over the past three years, at least six providers signed up to the group’s Funeral Payment Pledge, which means they agree to pay the family’s funeral director or home up to £10,000 in advance on all valid life insurance claims without waiting for probate.
The latest, The Exeter, signed the pledge just last month.
Last year, the group introduced the PDG Claims Charter which aimed to improve the basic levels of best practice undertaken by insurers.
The new charter stated a dedicated claims team should be available, with a phone-based claims process for claimants to submit and manage their claim, and that no potential claimant can be turned away by anyone not on the claims team.
Alan Knowles, managing director of Cura and chairman of the PDG, said: "We are delighted to see St James’s Place Wealth Management and Essential Insurance join the PDG.
"Joining our group demonstrates the commitment by both firms to work alongside their peers to improve customer outcomes and make the claims process a positive experience, when customers need our support the most."
Tony Mudd, divisional director at St James’s Place, said: "We are pleased to be joining the PDG as it is an organisation that is committed to creating positive change in the protection market.
"This commitment aligns with our own ambition in this market, which is to ensure affordable protection products are available to our clients, helping them prepare for unexpected events.
"By joining the PDG, we can work with other companies in the financial services industry to make a real difference to people’s lives."
Director at Essential Insurance, Rob White, said the firm was delighted to join the PDG.
He said: "We have eagerly watched the PDG drive many new initiatives and we are enthusiastic to be part of a progressive group that has shown it can influence and inspire real change within the industry.
"As a distributor of protection products, we’re looking forward to helping encourage positive change that delivers further improvements and better customer outcomes."
Emma Thomson, previously chairman of the PDG and now a product strategist at British Friendly, said: "It’s great to see another two firms join the PDG as expanding membership will undoubtedly provide the group with greater insight and influence.
"By welcoming firms such as SJP, the PDG will be able to use its expertise to champion the benefits of protection to a broader range of advisers as well as use its influence to drive further change in the market."