Guardian has launched a 24 hour GP service for its registered advisers and their immediate families as part of an intermediary protection package.
The firm is offering the first six months of the service for free with the help of its underwriting partner Scottish Friendly.
Advisers do not need to have written any business to apply for the policy, but have to be registered members of Guardian’s intermediary network.
The policy covers an unlimited number of phone and video consultations. In the event of an adviser or their family needing medication or a referral, they can go through Guardian’s partner - London-based start-up HealthHero.
“These types of support services are an important part of an insurance contract but can sometimes be overlooked in the protection conversation,” said Robert Harvey, a product specialist at Protection Guru.
Demand for GP services has shot up off the back of the pandemic. So much so that in April, GPs from the UK's Doctors Association warned then health secretary Matt Hancock that demand for their services was “going through the roof”.
Just one month earlier, NHS England had said general practices across the country were delivering on average around 7m consultations a week.
The increased pressure on the public health service's operations has paved the way for alternative GP services to come to the forefront.
HealthHero’s continued growth speaks to this trend. The healthtech now claims to cover 28m individual’s lives across Europe, up from 20m in December - some 8m of which are based in the UK.
For Guardian, this is not its first foray into new forms of online medical protection. Back in May 2020, it teamed up with Medical Screening Solutions to pilot a remote screening service for its policyholders.
The firm wanted to improve access to insurance during the Covid-19 disruption, giving advisers the tools they needed to get clients covered without making them leave their homes.
Guardian is keen to remain ahead in the digital services race. Last year, it told FTAdviser insurers who do not engage deeply enough with technological advances, and are not agile enough to adapt to meet consumers' and advisers' needs, will not survive.
Alongside its investments in new technology, the protection challenger has also undergone a brand revamp in recent years.
It re-entered the market in 2018 under the name ‘Guardian’, after being known as Guardian Financial Services. In 2016, ReAssure bought its life policies, pensions and annuities business, triggering Guardian’s eventual rebrand with a focus on providing protection policies through intermediaries.
The firm has also appointed a range of executives. Its latest addition was Jeremy Gibson, the former director of wealth manager Sanlam UK, in January, who now fills the role of Guardian’s chief financial officer.
His appointment followed that of Vitality's divisional director Hilary Banks, who joined Guardian as its sales director in December.