Legal & General has launched a digital quote and buy platform for advisers aimed at growing the small and medium enterprise group protection marketplace.
Called ‘Onix’ - short for ‘Online Insurance Experience’ - the platform is designed to remove restrictions on the upper limit of a scheme size (i.e. number of employees), and “create more online opportunities for intermediaries”, be that for group life assurance or group income protection.
It can generate quotes for any scheme involving 10 or more employees and automatically underwriting them.
The insurer said it also helps to save time by allowing intermediaries to upload employee data templates, and verify employers via a direct link to Companies House.
“Quoting on these types of schemes can be complicated and often requires several iterations to get things right - sometimes even with spreadsheets being exchanged,” Adam Higgs, head of research at Protection Guru, told FTAdviser.
“If this system can make the process more streamlined and easier, then I think L&G will make a lot of friends with group risk experts.”
As well as removing the cap on maximum employees, the platform has also removed restrictions on the number of claims, special underwriting terms and overseas employees.
Advisers can use it to create task lists for quotes placed on-risk too. This means they can submit any required documentation through Onix.
“Intermediaries are often time poor, admin heavy,” said L&G’s distribution director for group protection, Colin Fitzgerald.
“It’s probably safe to say smaller customers have been time consuming for advisers and don’t get the attention they really need – a one size fits all approach is common with little time to consult.
“And many generalist intermediaries are under the impression that group protection – and wellbeing per se – is just too complicated.”
The insurer said its ‘all-in-one’ platform offers advisers the “best of both worlds”. That is, quick access to lots of quotes, and the ability to refer less common client requirements to the insurer’s underwriters for review.
Onix’s launch is accompanied by L&G’s new ‘big on small business’ campaign designed to help intermediaries make products more relevant and straightforward for SME clients.
“Our goal is to bring workplace protection benefits to more people through digital innovation designed to expand market opportunities, save time, remove complexities and put the intermediary in control,” said Fitzgerald.
“We now have everything in place to help intermediaries explore new opportunities amongst the largely untapped 1.4m employing SMEs in the UK.”
Advisers have, in recent months, put the SME protection gap down to “intimidated” and “scared” peers with an apprehensive perception of the product.
Roy McLoughlin, associate director at Cavendish Ware Wealth Management, said: “Advisers can get intimidated by business owners. They’re intimidated by titles. I’ve seen it so many times. We need to make people more confident.”