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Brokers slam call centres poaching life cover clients

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Brokers warn their clients are being put at risk from call centre sales teams poaching their life insurance customers and rebroking cheaper policies with less cover.

Intermediaries add that these substitute policies often cover fewer illnesses, are not understood by customers and can have features that cannot be claimed on.

Four brokers tell Mortgage Strategy that they have had clients cold-called in this way since December 2016.

London Money and MOV8 Financial both tell Mortgage Strategy that their life insurance clients have been contacted by the Financial Assessment Centre and The Review Bureau, both based in the same Swansea office.

TRB is an appointed representative of Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services and FAC is a trading name of Andrew Robert Collier, also a Hayden Williams AR.

Brokers say affected clients are encouraged to move to cheaper Legal & General policies. Mortgage Strategy is unaware of other lenders being involved.

Clients believe they are speaking directly to L&G, not a third party.

London Money mortgage & protection consultant Cathy Beaumont says in March FAC persuaded her client to rebroke their existing L&G policy with another from the same lender and save £3 a month.

However, Beaumont says the new policy was sold to the client on the basis of being cheaper but also had reduced cover, potentially leaving the client at risk.

FAC also told the client their new policy had a feature that meant they would not have to pay inheritance tax. However, the customer was not eligible to pay this as a first-time buyer with an estate worth less than £325,000.

Beaumont says: “One, they’ve cold-called the client. Two, they’ve potentially put them at risk.

Three, they’re selling them something they didn’t need in the first place and that my clients didn’t understand what they were talking about.”

MOV8 Financial director Robin Purdie said he lost two life insurance clients to TRB when they offered cheaper L&G policies.

Coincidentally, Purdie adds TRB also cold-called him with the same offer as a life insurance customer.

On the call, Purdie says he “clearly stated” he had a good policy that included critical illness cover, but that the TRB caller “plowed on on the basis of cost and nothing more”.

Purdie says: “When we are discussing protection with a client and they have critical illness cover already in place, that’s not to say we won’t recommend a replacement, but we will do a strenuous analysis of the conditions.”

Purdie adds that clients could lose out from the different policies, and that MOV8 has had commission clawed back due to the rebroking.

He says: “As galling as it is that these companies are actually doing this and what it means for us as advisers, that we potentially lose a bit of remuneration, or worse than that, lose the clients going forward, it’s the potential implication for the client.”

Purdie said it was “potentially catastrophic” that no one from the ARs asked him or his clients about their medical conditions before recommending critical illness cover, as clients could be buying unsuitable policies.

Mortgage Advice Bureau mortgage & protection adviser Daniel Clayton says he has also had clients approached by a call centre that were encouraged to rebroke onto L&G policies that covered fewer illnesses.

He said one client went from a policy covering around 100 illnesses to “an inferior product”, one protecting from around 40.

He says: “We wouldn’t be able to do that, because you’d be recommending a policy you’d be less likely to be able to claim on. It’s frustrating.”

Monica Bradley Associates financial consultant Phil Leivesley says FAC has also contacted some of his clients and encouraged them to take out cheaper L&G policies in January.

He says: “There’s a very noisy office in the background, it’s a call centre. Frankly we were able to rescue the policies, though we never really got to the bottom of it.”

An L&G spokesman says Hayden Williams has an agency to write its protection business, and adds: “Hayden Williams IFS Ltd assumes full regulatory responsibility for any advice and operating procedures for TFAC or The Review Bureau.”

TRB says: “Our obligation as an appointed representative is to ensure that our engagement with clients comply with the treating customers fairly principle and to ensure that any transactions we facilitate are in the client’s best interest and meets the client’s demands and needs in accordance to the FCA’s Insurance: Conduct of Business Sourcebook.”

Hayden Williams declined to comment. FAC did not respond to requests for comment.

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  • Carl McGovern 24th May 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Sadly I have recently had to deal with a terminal illness claim, for a client suffering from terminal lung cancer. She did receive a call not very long ago from this type of company. Although I convinced her to stick with what she had, as I knew she was already suffering from cancer, I dread to think what would have happened, had she not had the sense to contact me. This was a life Only contract and has now paid the sum assured, which has cleared the Mortgage and given the lady concerned a further £100k to help with the financial burden on her husband and family. It is all well and good saving a few pounds on premiums, but the amount and type of cover offered, along with the professional service a good adviser can offer, is far more important.

  • Anonymous 22nd May 2017 at 9:58 am

    I personally was contacted by a marketing company purporting to be from L & G wanting to review my existing L & G policies and did I know that insurance prices had decreased recently. Intrigued (as I don’t have any L & G Policies) I continued with the call. Only to be passed to a financial adviser who I then explained how I was tricked into being passed over to him. Needless to say he wasn’t impressed and also fearful that he was implicated in this. I complained direct to the Marketing Company who said having listened to the call, I had tricked their telephone canvasser into saying she represented L & G! Anyway, I managed to get a copy of the complete phone conversation and passed it to my Network and to L & G. Neither did anything about it at all! Seems to me that in this industry, you are all alone!

  • Grumpy Old Broker 20th May 2017 at 6:05 pm

    It would be interesting to know if the common denominator here was the Lender who the mortgage was placed with…

  • Dave R 17th May 2017 at 6:42 pm

    So where are these call centres getting the client details from? Must be a common denominator somewhere

  • Samantha Cox 17th May 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Yes this has happened to us too, one of my clients cheerfully called me to say they were saving £46pm on their new policy, this was DTA life only, they’d been ‘advised’ to cancel ‘level life & CIC’ horrendous! luckily they managed to cancel down in the cooling off period. Other of my colleagues have had clients called as well, even during the clawback period! This MUST stop!

  • Brian Melling 17th May 2017 at 5:02 pm

    One of my customers was cold called and agreed he needed some more life cover.
    He contacted me to make sure I could do it instead and my prices were higher.
    On further checks the company had reduced their commission to 55%.
    I only managed to get the business by reducing to 50%.

  • Anthony Coe 17th May 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I have had a recent run-in with this company.
    My client had taken a £125,749 mortgage for 33yrs and I sold her a Friends Life Mortgage protection plan with CIC for £125,749 for 33yrs and B&C with L&G
    Hayden Williams cold called my client and claimed to be from L&G and convinced her to take a level term plan for £300,000 (life cover) with £50,000 CIC for 30yrs with L&G
    My client was a single lady with no dependents.
    Not only did they claim to my client that they where from L&G, but after I pointed out to my client what they had done and she wrote in to them to complain, they totally ignored the complaint and used it as an opportunity to sell her another policy.
    I then called them to complain about their actions. I then contacted L&G about their actions.

    [Edited to remove some sentences for legal reasons by Mortgage Strategy deputy editor Sam Barker]

    • Anonymous 17th May 2017 at 6:53 pm

      How are they getting your customers contact details?