We're about more than just numbers
Claims paid in 2022.
Our claims track record remains consistently strong, but we aim to go over and above to support your clients in times of need.
With a small team of claims specialists who handle all of our claims, it means your clients only need to explain their circumstances once, making it easier for them at a difficult time. Read more about our claims process.
Additional support for your client's health
If at any time during the term of their plan, your client or their partner and children, suffer a serious physical or mental illness, injury or bereavement, our Helping Hand support service will be there for them. And as a plan owner it doesn’t cost them anything extra to use.
Helping Hand is a package of support services, and each service is provided by third parties that aren’t regulated by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. These services aren’t part of our terms and conditions and don’t form part of your insurance contract with us, so can be amended or withdrawn at any time. This means that your or your family’s access to these services could be amended or withdrawn by us in the future.
Hear from our expert
Our Chief Underwriter, Craig Paterson discusses how the protection industry has a role to play in making sure we're not adding to the pressures already facing the NHS. At Royal London, by prioritising making decisions without seeking medical evidence at underwriting and claims stage, we can cover as many people as we can, with a fair and appropriate decision.
Craig Paterson, Chief Underwriter
Through focusing on our customers and providing a great underwriting and claims experience, we can ensure they get the protection they need, and can rely on us if they need to claim while minimising the strain on the NHS at the same time
Hi, everyone, I hope you're all well. I'm Craig Paterson, I'm the Chief Underwriter at Royal London.
One of the most notable aspects of the news in the first part of the year has been the challenges facing the NHS.
Clinicians and the resources are being challenged at all levels.
There's an increase in staff vacancies, prolonged patient waiting times and what can sometimes feel like a crisis in the social care sector.
And all at the same time, UK mortality has been running at an excess since the middle of 2022.
These are significant issues, and they might impact us all in one way or another, but how can we in the protection industry help?
Well, to start with, at both underwriting and claim, we prioritise making decisions without seeking medical evidence from third parties.
When a customer applies for protection with Royal London, 77% of them get an immediate online decision.
We're really proud of this statistic.
We want to cover as many people as we possibly can as quickly as we can, with a fair and appropriate decision.
For the 23% who are referred to our manual underwriting team, the majority are given a decision from that assessment alone, without the need for further information. Knowing that GP evidence typically takes longer and it takes the adviser out of the loop, we tend to only use this when there's no other alternative.
Most GP reports we do require relate to non-medical limits, where the size of the sum assured, combined with the customer age, means that evidence is required.
One of the things we offer that helps here is Underwrite Later, whereby the plan goes in force after a brief initial review while we seek the evidence in the background.
This means the customer's cover starts immediately, so they have peace of mind, knowing they 're protected from day one.
Only if the information we receive is different to what the customer told us when they applied will it have an impact upon the Underwriting decision.
At claim, paying out is obviously fundamental, and we paid out more than £600 million last year, but it's not enough. The process has to be quick and efficient.
Our claimants have got more important things to worry about than liaising with an insurance company.
I see many examples of claims being paid based on the information that the claimant can provide us with during that initial intimation call.
But medical evidence is sometimes unavoidable. Some claims are subjective, and we need to ensure that they're valid.
But just like underwriting, we do this by gathering evidence from the most appropriate place.
And, again, we do that by prioritising information that the customer already has. On many occasions, patients are copied in on the letters that are exchanged between their specialist and GP, such as one confirming a cancer diagnosis is being made, or a heart attack has occurred.
A significant proportion of critical illness claims are settled based on that claimant-supplied evidence alone.
And to further support our customers who might be struggling to get appointments or access to services through the NHS, we offer Helping Hand.
Through this, customers and their families have got access to a range of value-added services, including remote GP appointments 24 hours a day, a personal nurse adviser from RedArc to support through a diagnosis or bereavement or provide access to a second medical opinion.
And when they need treatment for conditions that might prevent them from working like mental health or musculoskeletal conditions, we offer access to apps like Thrive and TrackActive and we can arrange support like physiotherapy or counselling.
There's no getting away from the fact that the issues affecting the health service are significant -much greater than can be solved by the protection industry.
But through focusing on our customers and providing a great Underwriting and Claims experience, we can ensure they get the protection they need, and can rely on us if they need to claim while minimising the strain on the NHS at the same time.
Thanks for listening.
The numbers made clear
of claims paid in 2022
paid to customers
claims paid to customers and their families at a difficult time
Source: Royal London protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2022).
An adviser's experience of Royal London
In our new video, Emma talks about how our supportive claims experience has made things easier for her clients at a difficult time.
An adviser's experience of Royal London case study transcript
My name is Emma from Cover My Bubble, and we are a small family business made up of my hubby, and my three best friends. We started the business in 2018, and I’ve been working in the industry since 2010. The whole reason why I set up the company is to help families, and raise awareness about the importance of insurance. So, our own personal story is we were pregnant, we were having a little girl.
And at 24 and a half weeks Lillie was born, she came early. She was quite poorly, but we managed to have that time with her for a month in the hospital before she unfortunately passed away.
So the whole reason for me to help families is to actually shout about bump cover, children's cover, because we had nothing when we lost Lillie. And it became so financially difficult for us. So, really, that's the whole reason why we started Cover My Bubble... to help as many families as possible.
So we’ve recommended Royal London to our clients for so many reasons. Obviously we talk about bump cover, which is pregnancy complications, but we like to call it something different. Children's cover -the critical illness options, you can choose standard or enhanced, and then the whole definitions, it’s simple, it's easy for clients to understand. The added benefits that families get are so needed right now. So the GP services, it's easy to book an appointment. And then you've got the mental health support as well.
Specialist nurse support through RedArc but also the servicing – so the systems are easy, the quotation tools are easy. Going through the underwriting process, again, it's just really simple and easy to use as an adviser and then clients can then just login and actually check all the documents and confirm that everything is correct. And make amendments if needed, But that portal then is there for the client’s support for the future, if they need to download the documents.
You know, register them with the LiveSmart app – it’s just so good for them to use as a client as well as me being an adviser.
In regards to the claims, it's just been great. Our clients contact myself, we then get all the claims forms sorted with Royal London directly. They have one claims assessor, and that's something else that makes it just such an easy journey for the clients at such a difficult time. So the claims assessor will work with the client directly and also with ourselves so everybody is up to date on what's needed, where it's up to, and it gets things solved quicker.
One claim we had done in three days, so imagine going through such a difficult time and that family receiving that much needed money. And so, to me, Royal London have got the whole process with claims just bob on, it really does help people at such a difficult time.
So we receive so much feedback from our clients and every other day we are tagged in posts saying they’ve booked in with the GP services, they've booked in for mental health counselling and support. We hear a lot of feedback of how easy it's been to log in to the portal with Royal London.
And so they've been able to login, they receive a code, check their details, download any documents to keep them safe, but also if they've had to change address or they've separated with a partner, they can actually change the details very easily through Royal London.
Royal London have also gone above and beyond for our clients.
One really sticks in my mind for a 14 year old girl who was having some mental health counselling sessions, and when she spoke to the specialist nurse at RedArc, she noticed that she needed more sessions.
And they booked it for her, which I just think is fantastic, it's such a personal service, but it's actually specialised to the individual, it’s not just a tick box, it's actually there to help people.
So, what we're finding with Royal London recently is that more and more cases are being accepted with a yes decision on the online portal. But even if they have to go to an underwriter to have a look at the further medical information, again, the terms are coming back quicker for a client. We're able to send client documentation over to an underwriter, so a GP report isn't needed, so that, then, is speeding things up for our clients and getting them covered quicker. So to me, as an adviser, Royal London are really helping our clients get covered by being personable and helping them get that term policy all covered. So, as an adviser, I am very confident to recommend Royal London to our clients, as I know that they will be there for them if they needed any support in the future.
How a good conversation led to life-changing advice
Free Cover case study transcript
Hello, my name is Tracey Dickson and I work in the Intermediary Protection team at Royal London. I'm delighted to be joined by Ryan Radford, Managing Director of Zebra Mortgage Centre. Ryan’s going to talk to us about his experience of helping a client's family make a claim with Royal London and what this meant to them. Hi Ryan and thanks for speaking to us today.
Ryan: Good morning Tracey and thanks very much for the invitation.
Tracey: So, can you just tell us a little bit about Ann and John and why they wanted to take out life cover on Royal London’s menu plan?
Ryan: The circumstances with Mr and Mrs MacKay - they approached us when they were looking to buy their home. They were having a few difficulties obtaining a mortgage - just some past financial issues. Ourselves - we're independent mortgage advisors and we specialise in that field, but we’re also very passionate about protection and ensure that all our advisers discuss the importance of protection with all our clients at a very early stage. So, this was something we put in place straight away. In that particular set of circumstances, clients tend to take out a protection policy with a particular provider based on our recommendations and research. John - he was an HGV driver and on the odd occasion helped out with loading, which involved the use of a cherry picker and working at heights. We knew from our own experience that obtaining cover for clients that work at heights can be an issue. We knew Royal London were very good at dealing with people in that position but we knew it was probably going to attract a loading, so we thought it'd be a good idea to approach yourselves, who were more favourable, and discussed this with them at the time.
Tracey: Were there any other reasons that you recommended our cover in particular?
Ryan: Well they had no dependents. They were on a limited budget and they only wanted to have the mortgage protected at this stage, it was something that we were going to review in future, and when sourcing Royal London perform well and it was a product that they required and it came to the top of the list.
Tracey: Were Ann and John aware that the Royal London plan included Free Cover?
Ryan: They were made aware when we first spoke to them explaining how the process works - and yes, it was a factor when sourcing. It certainly becomes a bit more of a factor when you're dealing with properties in Scotland because you don't tend to put the policy on risk at exchange - it tends to be on completion. So, providing free cover before that is always a good thing. The clients already had an existing policy with Royal London as well, so they were comfortable with the proposal for the new cover when we recommended Royal London, again.
Tracey: So, you submitted an application for Ann and John. Can you just let us know about what happened next?
Ryan: Well, obviously the application was submitted, they were initially going for a different property, there were a few hiccups along the way and we had to make some amendments with the mortgage application but we put the life questionnaire into yourselves - came back that there were a few medical bits and pieces that needed to be picked up on, but in the end we got the terms accepted and his plan was already in place ready to start once they had a date.
Tracey: Yeah, so they were really just waiting on their house purchase to complete weren't they before everything started? And I think many other people, they kind of wait until the mortgage offer has been issued and things like that before having the protection conversation. So it's very lucky, I think, for Ann and John that you didn't hold off on having that conversation - because unfortunately, I think it was about six days before they were due to complete on the house that John unfortunately lost his life in an accident at work.
Ryan: Yeah absolutely. You know it's something that we've always believed - it’s extremely important to get a life cover and complete health questionnaires at the outset with the clients. You never know what health issues they may have that could delay cover and you know I think many other advisers wait until the mortgage offer has been issued before discussing or even putting a protection proposal in place to a client. I think that's a dangerous game. You know, if you’ve got you a health issue it's going to take longer. They could end up completing on a house with no cover. Thank goodness we didn't do it that way in this process.
Tracey: How did you find the claims process in general with Royal London? Did Ann feel she was supported during the claim? As that's one thing that we find very important.
Ryan: I took on board as much as I could away from her. You know, obviously with what she'd gone through I didn't need her having to make phone calls, or not understand things or anything like that and to be fair you guys were brilliant in that process.
Tracey: Were you surprised that Royal London had paid a claim on Free Cover when no premiums had been paid out?
Ryan: Initially yes, but obviously this is why it’s available and it's why we use providers with this benefit. Fortunately, we had not used this benefit in the past, but we were more than pleased to know that it does actually work and is there for our clients. We write a fair amount of business with Royal London and you're in the top five we use regularly, so you know, this experience has only more confirmed to us that we recommended the right providers for our clients.
What it must've meant to them, you know - I remember taking that phone call when she got the payment. I don't think she believed it was coming, I have to be totally… I've never asked again, it’s not a conversation you go and ask somebody, but I don't think she believed she was getting paid out to buy the house that, you know, that they wanted together. Even after all this, it seemed like absolute relief, she was in tears she was so emotional on the day she got that money.
Tracey: And, of course, the pay out has meant that Ann could do what she and John had planned to do. So, she's bought the house that they both went to see, and she's moved in now and she's made that the home that they planned to have. And you know, as a provider it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, you know, of covers and claims and things like that, but when you get down to the brass tacks of it, that's what we're here for. And, you know, the fact that we could help Ann with that - and yourselves could help Ann with that, I just, I'm sure it means a great deal to you.
Ryan: It’s fantastic that she was still able to go through with the purchase of the house her husband just chosen to make their home. That was the important factor at the end of the day, that was the key to it. So yeah, it was brilliant.
Tracey: And how has this experience of helping Ann and her family through the claim, how has that made you feel about Royal London and making a claim in general, and on the importance of having cover in place?
Ryan: I think from my own point of view, it re-confirms your faith in people and the job you're doing with providing policies to your clients that, you know, the saying, you know, ‘insurance, they never pay out’, well I've got the facts that proves they do now. And we could sit there and, you know, just sit and talk of a scenario as tragic as what it was, and as extreme and unusual as what it was, it’s a big factor to be able to sit there and talk to your other clients about – ‘Look, what if.’
Tracey: Yes, that's the big thing isn't it, ‘what if’.
Tracey: Ryan, thanks very much for your time today. Would you please pass on our thanks and best wishes to Ann and her family?
Ryan: Yeah, I certainly will do. Thanks very much for inviting us along, much appreciated.
Tracey: And if our listeners would like any more info about our Free Cover, or our claims process, you can find this information on our website, it's adviser.royallondon.com/protection. Thank you.
Business Protection claims case study transcript
Hi, my name is Tracey Dickson and I work in the protection team at Royal London.
I'm delighted to be joined by a customer of ours Simon Rowland. Simon's going to talk to us about his experience of making a business protection claim with Royal London and how the payout was able to help him and his business partner at a really challenging time. Hi, Simon, and thanks for speaking to us today.
Can you just tell us a little about your business and why you felt it was important to take out a protection plan?
So, we set up visible futures in 2012, which is a marketing services business. There's two of us really that started it myself, my business partner, Nigel. And it quickly became clear as we started to establish revenue, the type business we wanted it to be. And we didn't want a lot of staff, we didn't want a lot of premises, we didn't want a lot of cost. But we did realise that meant we were relying quite heavily on each other. And for that reason, we thought some sort of protection against of our future, if you like, was going to be important. So I arranged an appointment with a financial advisor to come in and talk to us about some of the options that were available to us.
Your financial advisor actually recommended taking out life cover and critical illness cover within the same business menu plan. Do you feel that having these separate covers in place was more beneficial for your business?
Well, at the time we were not really sure whether life insurance or a critical illness plan was more important. And it was the adviser that sort of talked us through the implications, if one of us had an illness that prevented us from working. And that in itself helped us sort of realise that although it was more expensive, critical illness might actually be a little bit more important for us. The combination of the policy didn't really come to life until we actually came to claim on the plan. And I think that turned out to be really quite important, because not only does it give us security now in terms of helping us over this quite significant bump in the road, but it also has something left in place, should my business partner die at some stage. So from that perspective, in terms of the mutual benefit of having both on one plan, yeah it was important, but I don't suppose I realised how important it was until quite recently.
Do you feel, I suppose you might feel that you have a bit more of a safety net in terms of business continuity having those two elements in place?
That's right, I mean, that's what it was all about, really, business continuity, particularly when we rely on each other so heavily, is important. The critical illness aspect allows us to either plan so that we could get help if we wanted to, to run an existing client work that we have to manage -
in our case, it was more around giving us a sort of break so that we didn't have to worry about business development, we didn't have to worry about revenue coming in, that we'd have money in place to pay our salaries so that we didn't have to worry too much. And that’s been quite a benefit for my business partner, obviously, because he doesn't have to worry about money coming in whilst he’s dealing with his recovery and I don't have to worry either around, you know, keeping the show on the road in his absence.
How long did you have business protection in place before you had to make the claim?
I think we took the policies out in 2014, maybe, something around that time. So we're probably talking about something like it's been in place five, maybe six years.
Not really long at all in the scheme of things.
And can you just tell us a little about the events that led to making the claim?
So, my business partner fell ill at the beginning of 2020, back end of 2019, had a number of tests and a cancer diagnosis came up. Obviously a big shock to him. I remembered the business policy we had in place, of course, and picked up the phone to Royal London and spoke to an agent who took basic details and said, actually, it's a very simple process, we'll be in touch with your business partner to understand exactly what the diagnosis is, and he'll tell us who we need to speak to in his medical team for the details we need. So we did that and I think the payout in terms of a lump sum was in our business account within maybe two weeks of me making that first call, which was quite excellent, to be honest. And we, I mean, I never really thought about what it was like to claim on one of these policies, but I assumed there’d be a lot of questions and analysis and medical questions and details to furnish. But in the end, you were very self-sufficient as a business. You knew what you wanted. You knew who to get that information from and you went ahead and did it. And that was excellent because of course it meant that Nigel didn't have to worry too much about, you know, dealing with paperwork, because at that stage he really was quite poorly.
And how has the payout been able to help your business?
Well, it's given us security so that we don't have to worry too much about where the next client is coming from. You know, marketing services is quite unpredictable, where we specialise in market research and brand planning, so it doesn't tend to be a long-term relationship with clients - once they've done that piece of work they’re into business as usual and we’ve done our piece. So, it's quite often, in our industry, looking for new clients and it's quite a long tail between having the first conversations and actually getting engaged. So, it gave us peace of mind that we didn't have to worry too much about doing that activity, for, the short term. It probably has given us a good year, I suppose, of space. And that's excellent, really, in terms of what's happened both for the recovery plan that my partner’s on and for simply managing the business process, you know, really, so that we can cope. And I would say that, you know, obviously COVID has been around from the beginning, I suppose, of that experience and that's obviously affected lots of businesses and I think without the payment from the plan, I don't think Visible Futures would be in existence today, I think we’d have run out of money by now.
Simon, thank you so much for your time today. And please pass on our best wishes to Nigel as well.
Will do. Thank you very much.