Adam Higgs considers what advisers need to know about the main protection quote portals.
The custom multi-benefits area of the system allows advisers to select the specific products they wish to quote on within a menu plan and compare these to the single-policy solutions.
A nice feature within this – which iPipeline’s Solution Builder also includes – is the ability to compare the costs of two single life policies where a joint-life policy is selected. This will help highlight what is usually only a slight difference in cost for what is in reality twice the amount of cover.
Quote+ is Direct Life & Pensions’ indicative underwriting tool that, similar to iPipeline’s XRAE, allows the adviser to input details of the clients health and lifestyle in order to obtain an indicate cost for cover.
On top of all the features provided within the quotation portal, Direct Life & Pensions also offers an application processing and tracking service designed to take the strain of chasing a case through to completion away from the adviser.
There are five options available for the completion of the application with differing costs involved in each. The most comprehensive option allows Direct Life & Pensions to call the client directly to obtain the information absolving the adviser’s liability to non-disclosure.
Capita’s Webline system takes a similar approach to multi-benefit comparisons as IRESS in the way it allows users to compare either a multi-policy solution or a multi-benefit solution.
If the user elects to compare standalone products, once the client and product details are input they are shown the costs for each provider and product. After selecting the policies they wish to proceed with they are shown what the costs would be if they elected to go down the menu plan route. However, like IRESS, there is no combined report.
The Webline portal is very user-friendly, worked well on an iPad and includes a few nice features to help advisers ensure the right benefits are being selected. One example of this is in the selection of which provider to proceed with for income protection.
The costs for the amount of cover input are displayed as expected. However, there is an additional column that highlights what the costs would be if a shorter deferred period is selected, enabling the adviser to demonstrate to clients that having better cover might not be that much more expensive.
Like iPipeline and Direct Life & Pensions, it also highlights the difference in cost between single and joint life policies.
Unlike the other systems, it shows the adviser what the cost of waiver of premium will be to help them understand the affect this is having on the overall price of cover.
It is noticeable that none of these quotation portals have any form of qualitative assessment of product features to complement the quantitative assessment that is provided.
Capita does have this capability via a web services option for advisers that might like to embed a quote comparison service in their websites, but this is not currently available in Webline. Adding this to its current system could provide it with a real advantage over its peers.
Providing such information can help an adviser focus the client’s attention on value rather than just price.
The addition of multi-benefit quoting to each portal is something that all advisers will welcome as it eliminates the need to produce multiple comparisons and then approach menu plan providers directly in order to produce a comparison.
Each system has its own merits and, as always, advisers should understand explicitly what they are looking for from a quotation portal before making a decision.
Further innovation is expected in this market with UnderwriteMe planning to release an offering that will provide a fully underwritten quote and apply comparison service later this year.
It will certainly be interesting to see what affect this will have on the current providers.
Adam Higgs is head of research, adviser services, at F&TRC
Launching later in 2019
Considered least important
Research from Canada Life
Putting the tech into protection