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60 Seconds with… Richard Verdin

What’s happening at Norwich Union at the moment?

Getting to understand Norwich Union – soon to be renamed Aviva – is no mean feat as it’s a big company.

At Norwich Union Life we have established the way we want to operate from now on and that means going through all available channels – dealing with the IFA marketplace as well as partnerships.

Our strategy is one of simplification when advising customers. We want our protection policies to be easy to use, easy to advise on, easy to buy and available at a more competitive price than other life insurers.

Our emphasis on simplification with pure life insurance policies is already paying dividends. A shorter question set, attractive pricing and an easier process means our simplified deals now represent 60% of all our life applications. They are easy to buy through advisers or directly online.

Have you seen more mortgage brokers submitting protection business?

Yes and no. I’d have to say brokers who have specialised in sub-prime, self-cert and buy-to-let generally find it more difficult to churn their client base as their clients are not so open to the opportunity.

But brokers who have been working in the prime residential market can revisit customers who may previously have been too busy to explore more comprehensive financial protection options. For example, they may have been rushed at point-of-sale.

How can brokers deal with Norwich Union Life?

We have a solution for everyone and can deal with brokers face-to-face, over the phone or online. We still have BDMs in the marketplace and have recently recruited two specialists to focus on brokers who have only ever advised on protection products.

What advice would you give mortgage brokers wanting to up their protection game?

For new business, don’t just focus on mortgages. Take a holistic approach. There’s no point in only looking at one aspect of clients’ finacial needs.

Brokers should aim to provide complete financial protection for their customers.

What protection policies do you have?

Bizarrely most of them are with Norwich Union. I’ve got life, critical illness and motor insurances to name but a few. But not income protection – I save a lot.

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