Risk Placement Services has acquired the assets of rival Special Risks Bureau to create a single specialist insurance platform for the IFA market.
RPS is an independent insurance brokerage established to help find life insurance for people deemed to be ‘special risk’.
Like RPS, SRB arranges life insurance for people who fall into the special risk category by virtue of the size of cover they require, their current or previous medical condition, their occupation or location of their job or their lifestyle (sports, activities etc).
The acquisition should significantly strengthen RPSs position in the market with both financial intermediaries and insurers, enabling the merged business to achieve greater market reach, improved levels of service, further expertise in a complicated market segment, one best practice process, and significant cost and time savings for IFAs and their clients.
A successful fund raising round has also allowed RPS to significantly increase its spend on marketing and improved technology for the newly-merged business.
SRB was set up in 2003 by IFA personalities Garry Heath and Mike Owen and, like RPS, operates a hassle-free method of handling the more complex insurance cases.
The company has a single application form which is accepted by its panel of eight major insurance companies willing to underwrite special risk cases.
The company works with more than 10,000 professional advisers across the UK.
SRB also offers critical illness and income protection policies, enabling the RPS platform to broaden its product range following the acquisition as well as widening and strengthening its provider panel.
The newly-merged platform is designed to streamline the process of applying for special risks insurance, saving the industry approximately 65m per year.
Traditionally, placing such cases in the UK was complicated and highly inefficient for the IFA, the client and the potential life insurer.
The IFA would complete and submit multiple application forms; the client would potentially attend multiple medical examinations and the potential life insurers would all incur the expense of underwriting the case, although only one in four or five applications would be processed.
Through the RPS Intelligent System, the company has developed unique software that allows the IFA to simultaneously access the panel providers underwriters, using a single application with the knowledge that the premium rates offered are likely to be the most competitive available.
The application process only requires one set of forms to be filled in reducing the time process by up to 80% for IFAs, speeding up the turn around time for the client by a half and significantly cutting costs for the insurers with the eradication of duplication.
Mike Hosie, managing director of RPS, says: We are delighted to acquire the assets of the Special Risks Bureau, a company we have a lot of time and respect for and whose founders share the same goals and ambitions as us: to provide the best policy terms possible for those millions of people over-looked by most of the insurance market because they are deemed special risk.
SRBs excellent relationships with its panel providers combined with RPSs use of sophisticated technology and excellent service will provide a leading force in the special risks broking market, providing both IFAs and our panel providers with significant time and cost savings.
The deal has enabled us to dominate this specialist sector and will not only ensure we become the first port of call for financial intermediaries whose clients fall outside the norm when looking for life cover but will encourage more insurers to sign up to our panel and provide the best possible terms for our users.
We provide the perfect service to help IFAs with the administration challenges that specialist insurance can often cause.
By allowing them to fill in one form, but offering them products from across the market, they are able to gain the right product at a competitive price quickly for their clients and still gain commission.
Mike Owen, managing director of Special Risks Bureau, who will remain with the newly-merged business, adds: RPS was the logical company to take over SRBs assets as it is well funded, has the systems and technology in-house to support the platform and has appropriate and supportive commercial arrangements.
With the two companies merged, RPS can invest in marketing and systems for the benefit of the business and IFAs without dilution. It reduces costs in addressing the market and creates an organisation with critical mass more quickly.