Royal London admits Bright Grey and Scot Prov were 'tired' propositions

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The CEO of Royal London has admitted that the insurance group's protection providers had 'tired' propositions in revealing a sharp fall in new protection business.

Royal London saw a 21% fall in new protection sales in 2014 from £439m to £346m, highlighted by a 23% fall in sales through intermediaries (from £436 m to £338m).

Meanwhile its direct to consumer protection sales rose 167%, although this accounted for only £8m of new sales.

Phil Loney, CEO of Royal London, told COVER: "There's no doubt that Scottish Provident and Bright Grey's propositions were getting a bit tired over the course of the year, so we've begun to reinvigorate them.

Loney also attributed part of the fall to 2013's figures including sales as a result of the gender directive, but noted that changes to the brands were starting to take effect.

In Q4 sales through intermediaries were up 5% on Q4 2013 to £99m.

Loney said: "In Bright Grey we've been making product and pricing improvements and we've really been focussing in critical illness on the core five reasons customers have for claiming and improving the quality of the product there and also on enhancing pricing.

"We've also improved service by introducing case management."

Loney added: "That's started to show through in sales in the fourth quarter, in Scottish Provident as well as improving service we've introduced a whole new front end, a much better digital front end."

In 2014 Royal London launched over 50s life cover sold directly to consumers.

The company was one of the first to adopt UnderwriteMe in 2014, along with Exeter Family Friendly, Scottish Friendly and SunLife.

Loney said of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident: "What we're aiming to do by the second half of 2015, is to bring the two businesses together into a single protection business using the best products and the best service from each business to form a single business branded under the Royal London brand."

Overall, total life and pension sales at the group rose 39% to £4.8bn.

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