CIExpert responds to Zurich’s market shift with new Customiser Tool to reduce adviser research burden

Today, CIExpert has launched its new Customiser Tool in response to Zurich’s upgraded CIC product range.

Related topics:  CIExpert,  Innovation
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
28th September 2023
"To be able to do this in such a simple and intuitive way, all supported with a full compliance report generated in just a few seconds, is an adviser’s dream come true."
- Emma Vaughan, head of protection and health solutions at SimplyBiz

Earlier this year, CIExpert announced that its Insight Zone would now include Income Protection (IP) after Guardian launched its new proposition. This update included an area within its policy information hub, providing advisers with easy access to key information on all aspects of IP policies across the industry.

READ MORE: CIExpert debuts Guardian’s new Income Protection product in major strategic move

In another strategic move, CIExpert has launched its new Customiser Tool in response to Zurich’s upgraded CIC product range. This tool offers a “completely new level of personalisation for clients,” and enables advisers to take full advantage of the new flexibility that Zurich has provided. CIExpert’s additional functionality has been designed to meet Consumer Duty requirements, with cost versus quality assessments for every customised option of the personalised Zurich product range.

Zurich’s new proposition includes three levels of cover. The most affordable ‘critical illness’ is designed for those who want quality cover for the most claimed conditions at a competitive price. This level offers revised and improved definitions from Zurich’s previous standard package for brain injury, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension and less advanced cancer of the prostate. It also includes updated cancer, heart attack and dementia cover in line with the Association of British Insurers guidelines.

For clients looking for more comprehensive cover at a competitive price, Zurich has designed ‘critical illness enhanced’, formerly known as ‘Select’. This policy now includes cover for all neurodegenerative conditions, all bowel diseases, accidental hospitalisation, permanent pacemaker insertion and severe sepsis. It also includes improved cover for a range of conditions including mental illness, coronary angioplasty and drug-resistant epilepsy. 

Above this level of cover sits Zurich’s entirely new ‘critical illness enhanced+’, designed for clients who want market-leading cover and pay-out levels. The maximum payout for additional payment conditions at this level has been doubled from £25k to £50k. It also includes additional benefits providing a maximum payout of £200k for severe conditions, while the maximum age for the uplift benefit has been raised from 50 to 55 years old.

Overall, this creates 15 policy variants with the opportunity to add additional children’s cover at any amount between £10k - £100k.

READ MORE: Zurich set to have a “significant impact on the market” with new critical illness proposition

CIExpert’s solution enables all 15 policy variants to be readily selected for comparison while its Customiser Tool allows the child sum assured to be altered from the pre-selected amount to match the client’s choice. The tool automatically updates the quality rankings to reflect the new child sum assured chosen.

Furthermore, the Customiser Tool allows advisers to create indicative premiums for Zurich’s customised options. This enables them to immediately understand the cost implications of choosing any of the policy combinations and the difference in price when altering the child sum assured. Therefore, advisers can interactively review the options available and assess the balance between cost and quality, making it easier to select the option that best matches the individual needs of each client.

Here's an example of CIExpert's new services:

Commenting on the launch, Alan Lakey, director at CIExpert, has said: 

“When we initially saw Zurich’s outline for their new products I have to admit to being concerned about the level of complexity that it might create but as we came to understand the rationale behind it we could see that this was a significant market innovation focused on matching product design to the individual needs of a client.

“We viewed this as an extremely positive market direction that others will no doubt follow and therefore we set out to create for advisers a simple & fast solution that would make this personalisation viable. To support a Consumer Duty process it is essential that cost and quality for each option considered can be readily understood, however, if an adviser has to go to a provider’s portal to get a price for a customised option then it introduces complexity, which we all know is the enemy of a sensible interaction.

“It was a significant challenge for our development team to create an interactive solution that can compute both new rankings and indicative premiums in a few seconds, but in doing so we believe we have created a powerful tool for advisers to illustrate the new level of flexible options for their clients.

“Whilst being inspired by Zurich to make these changes, we have taken the opportunity to build in some new visual enhancements to the navigation of our user interface, assisting advisers in understanding the myriad child cover options available. The solution clearly labels those policies that include congenital conditions and captures clients’ plans for future children. It also includes a new children’s cover filter to further aid advisers in identifying the best match for their clients’ personal needs.”

Louise Colley, director of retail protection at Zurich, said: 

“Our improved three-tiered approach for critical illness cover, as well as the new options we have available for children’s cover enable advisers to craft tailored solutions for each of their clients.

“CIExpert’s unique ability to individually customise and compare the quality and cost of every combination of cover, including for any children’s cover amount between £10k - £100k, really compliments the enhancements we have made.

“When sharing the new proposition with the CIExpert team they fully embraced what we are setting out to achieve – in crafting a solution for every customer who has their own unique protection needs. The new functionality that CIExpert has developed significantly reduces the research burden on advisers. It also provides them with tangible evidence to support their recommendation as well as helping them to fully meet both their Consumer Duty and fair value obligations.” 

Emma Vaughan, head of protection and health solutions at SimplyBiz, added:  

“It’s extremely important that advisers are able to research the most suitable solutions for their clients as independently & accurately as possible, so we’re delighted to see CIExpert introduce yet another innovation to their range of services today. 

“With the added requirements of Consumer Duty at the front of all our minds I believe the functionality CIExpert has developed allowing advisers to personalise Zurich’s new Critical Illness plans to exactly meet the needs and budgets of their clients, really starts to challenge the constraints of rigid product design while allowing advisers to evidence the quality of their advice and easily demonstrate fair value.

“To be able to do this in such a simple and intuitive way, all supported with a full compliance report generated in just a few seconds, is an adviser’s dream come true.”

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