Like many smaller organisations, Wiltshire Friendly has a long track record of providing protection cover, mainly to a local community. It is now expanding out into the IFA arena, citing its flexibility and innovation as creating new opportunities for intermediaries.
The Group Income Replacement plan has a “flexible minimum” of just five lives and covers up to 75% of income (which can include pension contributions, NICs and other non-pay benefits), up to a maximum of £37,500 a year. A wide choice of deferred periods is available, from four weeks (which is even available to blue collar workers) to 52 weeks. Benefits can be paid to retirement age or for a limited benefit period of one or two years.
One unique benefit is Accident Cover. This provides back to day one cover if an employee is injured by a non-work related accident and is off work for at least one week. An own occupation incapacity definition is used on all plans. Continuation of Cover is automatically included, allowing leavers to continue cover on a personal basis. Standard commission is 12% a year.
Employees can “top-up” the cover provided by their employer.
Some of the above limits are negotiable – in line with the society’s flexible approach. One recent service introduction has been Big T teleinterviewing, with Medicals Direct Group.
What They Say
CEO John Sanders said: “We are all of course aware of the massive protection gap and we are aiming to help IFAs write more new business. Having seen a gap in the market for smaller group IP schemes, we can provide cover for a minimum of just five lives, or even less on request. When this is linked to our knowledge of the blue collar market gained via individual IP, we are confident in offering terms for these smaller schemes, even if the majority are in fact blue collar occupations. In addition all schemes, including our two limited period payment plans, can have a deferred period starting at only four weeks. We therefore see our entrance into the market as a genuine effort to create more new business for IFAs by giving them access to group schemes where both they and employers were previously unable to obtain terms.”
What We Say
Small specialist organisations can offer much greater flexibility than their larger counterparts, and this is the message Wiltshire Friendly is now bringing to the IFA market, along with its experience in the blue collar market – a sector not always popular with group IP insurers. The inclusion of Accident Cover and a continuation option is welcome, while Big T underwriting is an example of the society’s forward-looking stance. Automatic continuation options are becoming increasingly rare, but are especially valuable, both for those employees may leave an employer in future (i.e. most!) and also for intermediaries.
Despite a history dating back over 120 years, many IFAs will not be familiar with the organisation. That could change if it delivers what it appears to have the potential to deliver.