Six insurers join panel which services more than 8,000 mortgage and protection advisers
British Friendly, Canada Life, Shepherds Friendly, The Exeter and Unum have all been added to one of the largest distributors of mortgage and protection.
Guardian Financial Services, which entered the market in 2018, has also been picked for a place on Zenith, which is a panel for PMS members that's part of Sesame Bankhall Group and serves more than 8,000 advisers in the space.
PMS campaigns and proposition director, Jeff Woods, said: "We're very happy to welcome Guardian to the Zenith panel for PMS members. Their proposition is simple and appealing to those looking for high quality, flexible cover. It has features we know PMS members will value, like its cover upgrade promise, and flexibility to add optional children's critical illness cover to adult life policies. We also support Guardian's commitment to dual life. This helps advisers feel confident they're future proofing the cover they recommend to couples."
Guardian's life and critical illness proposition is recognised for offering broad, simplified CI definitions designed to increase the prospect of positive outcomes for customers, it has also launched other product features such as dual life policies, Payout Planner and HALO, a holistic suite of additional care services.
Guardian distribution director, Andy Peters, said: "The Zenith panel for PMS members represents a significant opportunity for Guardian. It coincides with a time when we know, due to the awful and profound impact of the pandemic, clients have an increased appetite to talk about protecting their lives and their loved ones. We look forward to working with PMS members to bring our award-winning cover to their clients, to help more people get the protection they need."
Recent Guardian research suggested that 75% of advisers are reporting increased interest from clients in protection - it also found that 83% of those who do not normally discuss protection are more likely to do so.
The six new providers will join existing providers Aegon, AIG, Aviva, L&G, LV=, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Vitality and Zurich on the panel, which offers advisers enhanced terms and is backed by PMS support.
The support package includes adviser toolkits and calculators, along with videos and webinars to help advisers increase their protection knowledge and skills.
Fair Value Framework
PMS Mortgage Club has also launched a Fair Value Framework for directly authorised firms to help advisers show how insurance products have been sourced through PMS and its due diligence practices in line with FCA guidance.
The Zenith protection panel and Fair Value Framework are also available to directly authorised wealth, protection and mortgage firms that are supported by PMS Mortgage Club's sister-company Bankhall. Over the coming weeks, it said the new expanded Zenith protection panel will also be rolled-out to mortgage and protection firms that are members of Sesame Network.
Ross Liston, managing director, Bankhall and PMS said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted people's vulnerabilities - both health-wise and financially. Advisers have a critical role in responding to this increased consumer interest and helping to strengthen their clients' financial resilience, by having more meaningful protection conversations. To fully support advisers, we also wanted to address some of the issues in the protection market that are being driven by Covid-19, such as product providers changing their underwriting criteria and taking different approaches in the current climate. It's a double-edged sword for advisers - increased consumer interest on one hand, but with protection products in a state of flux, which in some cases is making it more difficult to place business with confidence. Offering increased provider choice through our new Zenith protection panel provides a greater range of solutions to this potential problem for advisers and their clients."
On the launch of the Fair Value Framework, Jeff Woods said: "All advisory firms offering protection and GI have a regulatory obligation to undertake product governance to ensure the products they distribute are right for their customers. However, some directly authorised firms struggle with this due to limited resources and confusion as to how this can be demonstrated in practice. That's where PMS is seeking to help, with the launch of our Fair Value Framework. Working closely with our provider partners, we will ensure the products available through Zenith are in-line with the latest regulatory guidance and offer true, ongoing value to the customer. As part of our framework, we regularly request information from our provider partners to ensure ongoing monitoring and oversight of Zenith, so that the products offered remain appropriate for advisers' needs and continue to offer fair value to customers. After all, the more that customers value their cover, the more likely they are to retain it."
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