Advisers have been the driving force behind a protection boom at Zurich as the insurer saw its new protection business increase by 46 per cent in the past year.
In its full year results for 2019, published today (February 13), Zurich reported £42m worth of new business for its protection arm — 46 per cent more than the previous year.
This came as the insurer was preparing to sell its platform and retail wealth business to Embark, which completed at the end of last year.
Speaking to FTAdviser, Zurich’s UK chief executive Tulsi Naidu said the increase stemmed from advised sales.
Ms Naidu said: “Both our group and retail protection offerings have played their part, but there was particularly strong growth in retail protection which is primarily adviser sales.”
Zurich’s protection sector saw profits grow 15 per cent while its annual premium equivalent — the sales measure calculation used by insurance companies to work out new business — increased by 25 per cent to £115m.
The insurer said it was also pleased with the performance of its group protection sector, which achieved an 11 per cent customer increase.
Ms Naidu told FTAdviser the strong results followed a dampened period at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 after the provider revamped its protection offering and conducted a replatforming of its protection platform.
She said: “We observed that when we launched [the new platform and products] a high level of demand had caused it to suffer.
“We saw demand well beyond what we expected which caused some pressures on service. That’s completely behind us now.”
Zurich has rallied behind its protection business following the sale of its retail platform.
When asked how the industry reacted to the sale Ms Naidu said advisers had been “very supportive” of Zurich’s moves, adding most stakeholders had “appreciated the clarity”.
She said: “We now have a clear focus and people welcomed the clarity. They support our focus.
“It’s a strong platform with good performance and it will get a good level of care and attention from its new owners.”
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