Year on year, we work to make it easier to claim. Even while working from home, you have a single point of contact who manages a claim from start to finish. And access to our Helping Hand service is always available to your clients' and their immediate family, regardless of claim.
Through pandemics and daily life, you can rely on us to be by your side, and to make sure all claims are handled with care.
Source: Royal London protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2020).
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.
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.
I had been aware that I had a prostate issue for a good number of years.
I had prostate cancer.
I started this industry some 30 odd years ago. I had my own practice for something like 15 years that got bought out and after that and a period of intellectual indolence I decided that I had to do something and, in particular, I wanted to start a support business for smaller directly regulated IFA's. That was 14 years ago with panacea.
So you had some unexpected news last year?
I had regular checks, biopsies all the sort of thing that people are advised to have with a very good consultant. But not withstanding that I found this out not because tests had shown that I had prostate cancer but because the surgery that I had which underwent particular analysis from tissue removal had shown that I had prostate cancer and thankfully the removal of the tissue should have actually seen the cure of the problem.
So what went through your mind when you were told that you had cancer?
After the event I've come to think more reflect more about it and realise that for me it is probably a life changing event.
And I believe you had a personal protection plan as well?
Yes I did. Advised upon by myself of course a good few years ago and something that I had retained, in my particular case, a whole of life cover with critical illness.
And that was with Royal London?
Yeah that's correct.
And how did you find the overall process dealing with Royal London?
The process was simply stunning. I wasn't really sure that these policies that I'd had all this period of time would actually cover this condition. I know that definitions of cancer and things have impacts on policies and whatever. But from my point of view it turned out, particularly after taking some financial advice, that it looked like it was something that was covered.
So what did that pay out allow you to do then?
It's allowed me to perhaps think more calmly about life. It buys a lot of comfort in that regard. Running a business is not the easiest of things, particularly small businesses in this day and age, and certainly it has the potential from my point of view to make life just that little bit easier from worrying about the success of your business. And also it means that if you do have a situation that your condition is going to deteriorate, hopefully mine won't, there is a certain sum of money which is sitting there which is meaningful that can take the pressure off at the time that you perhaps don't need any financial pressures.
Were you aware of the risks of prostate cancer before your diagnosis?
Not especially, until I started to have the symptoms of this and you read more and more about it. I think for guys it's a very unpleasant thing to confront I think and certainly men these days who are at 45 50 need to make sure they get regularly checked.
What would you say are your thoughts and feelings about personal protection and is it important to other people?
Well my thoughts on protection I guess aren't particularly any different to what they were when I decided I was going to take protection out and having been an IFA and seen the impact of people making claims of clients - protection is basically one of the key things in terms of financial planning.