Award Winners 2019

by Protection Review 12/07/19 Category: Latest News

It’s the morning after the night before. Thanks to everyone who came along to the Protection Review Conference, Dinner and Awards on Thursday and making it one of the best events yet. And thanks to all our partners for your support.

Here are this year's winners and this year we’ve also provided some feedback on why they impressed us.

Some of the big winners of the night were newcomers and mutual or friendly societies. Because sometimes small and new really is better.


Innovation Award in association with Gen Re

Guardian has worked hard to innovate across the protection market over the last year, showing a strong desire to move the industry forward. The judges felt that initiatives such as the pay-out planner designed to bypass probate were rightly described as bold and brave and addressed issues which impacted consumers at a time when our products and services should be helping. We applaud Guardian on their initiatives and will watch with interest at how they impact the market.


Doing it Better Award in association with Health Shield

One of our two of our two new awards, the Doing it Better Award seeks to recognise the company making outstanding progress in doing things better for customers, advisers, the wider industry and society as a whole. Our winner has to be getting it right with their products and customer service as a starter for ten – but this award is about so much more. We looked for evidence of diversity, a great culture, a strong sense of corporate responsibility, commitment to charitable work, a company contributing to their local community and also supporting the health and wellbeing of their people. 

The winning entry impressed the judges because of the breadth of examples it provided. The ethos of the company was evident throughout the entry from products which sought to include customers who might otherwise have been excluded to supporting other businesses in their local community and encouraging staff to get involved in a wide range of charity initiatives. Recognised by a number of awards for their culture and achievements, it was clear to the judges that The Exeter is genuinely committed to “Doing it Better” both now and in the future.


Unsung Hero Award in association with LifeSearch

One of two new awards this year, our aim with the Unsung Hero Award is to recognise those people making a real difference to customers and advisers every day – but who aren’t a senior manager, don’t have a high profile and aren’t in the media.

We were looking for someone who demonstrated the hugely important role they play in the consumer and/or adviser journey and James Dungworth from British Friendly did that. He is a claims manager whose entry made clear the pride he feels in being “on the front line” and seeing each claim as a personal story rather than a statistic. Written testimonials received through our online vote reinforced the story his entry told. He is involved in the company’s immediate payment project and also with improving access to insurance, and it was clear to the judges that James really does have the customer at the heart of everything he does. We are confident he will no doubt continue to make a positive impact on customer outcomes.


Individual Protection Adviser of the Year in association with Guardian

This award seeks to determine which individual adviser is not only an excellent protection adviser for their clients but also someone who does more than most to drive the industry forward as well as helping other advisers. The judges felt that Alan Knowles from Cura had worked hard over the last year to raise his profile and confront challenges for the industry. Attending a number of different industry working groups, and as chair of the PDG, he has used his position to share information and push for progress on issues such as access to insurance. The judges were impressed by the client case study and testimonial and the authentic wish for increased financial education from school age and are certain that Alan will continue to impress in the years to come.


Life & Health Claims Award in association with Health Claims Forum

This award seeks to recognise and reward innovation in claims management, and excellence in customer service where the insurer has gone above and beyond what is expected to improve the customer experience during a claim. British Friendly stood out not just because it was one of a small number of entries which met all of the entry criteria, but we also saw evidence that the company had built on the wish expressed in previous years which featured as stars in their 2019 submission.  Having considered all of the entries and consulted with the Health Claims Forum, the judges commend British Friendly on the way that they concentrate on claims service and looking at ways of streamlining and improving the claims journey.


Protection Intermediary of the Year in association with VitalityLife

With a very strong written entry, clearly meeting the judging guidelines, Futureproof stood out as an intermediary looking to raise awareness of protection needs and educate clients but also to meet the needs of those who might struggle to find cover. The judges liked the company’s use of social media to raise its profile and the commitment to ongoing training and development of staff. In a year when the company had undergone an acquisition, it was clear that they were committed to further growth, mindful of always serving clients in the best way possible.


Best New Product in association with Cignpost

For this award, the judges were looking to identify which entry had made the biggest improvement to the industry over the last year and helped customers the most. Consideration was given to potential to grow the market and impact standards across the industry. Polling highest in the online vote, the Guardian entry stood out for a commitment to shake up the industry and put the customer at the centre of the proposition. The Guardian proposition breaks market norms and is built upon a commitment to trust and fairness which the judges felt was to be commended.


Underwriter of the Year in association with Hannover Re UK Life Branch

In this category, judges were looking to determine which provider has the best underwriting process and make it easier to write new business.  The winner of this award had to demonstrate that they provided quick and easy access to underwriters and that they made fair and appropriate underwriting decisions on a consistent basis.

As is the norm with this award we also carried out separate adviser only research, which showed several companies to be ahead of the pack. Our winners clearly demonstrated a clear, consistent and fair approach to underwriting which utilised technology and served the client well. Judges felt that the inclusive philosophy and commitment to quick decisions were commendable as was the mental health philosophy.


Health Insurance Adviser of the Year in association with VitalitHealth

The judges are looking for companies who are driving the health insurance industry forward, providing great advice and improving the market overall for consumers. Assured Futures demonstrated all of these areas in what was a very close category and coming top of the online poll made the difference in the end.


Young Achiever in association with Zurich

Looking for a someone who has made a real impact but is also under 35 at the time of entry isn’t always easy and our winner had to demonstrate an outstanding level of knowledge and commitment in their field, supplemented by any notable achievements over the last year. Judges commented on the high standard of entries overall but felt that Charlotte’s entry stood out in particular because of her notable achievements in business development. Both her entry and the testimonial provided demonstrated a real commitment to self-improvement and growth both for Charlotte and the business and her tenacity is to be commended.


Protection Journalist of the Year in association with AIG Life

It’s been a busy year for the new editor of Cover magazine. But Adam’s enthusiasm, positivity and achievements since he came to the industry have extended far beyond the judging criteria for this award. As well as writing a number of brave pieces of journalism highlighting his personal experiences he has hosted a range of events and taken a collaborative approach to working for the good of the industry as a whole. Adam has displayed a commitment to increasing his own knowledge and also in challenging the industry to be the best it can for its customers.


Personality of the Year in association with EXL Services

Judges felt that through his work at iPipeline, Paul had shown real determination and passion for improving the protection insurance industry including improving consumer outcomes, improving technology, driving better product development, helping advisers to write more protection business and much more.  With a commitment to improvement and growth far beyond his own company, we are pleased to recognise Paul as a real champion of the industry.


Organisation of the Year

This year’s winner is everywhere when it comes to protection. When it comes to advisers discussing new products, AIG are there. When it comes to great service, AIG has it. When it comes to great people, AIG has many. When it comes to new partnerships, AIG has usually just announced something great. When it comes to marketing & social media they’re right on it. And the Max Brett story moved an entire industry. They didn’t win any individual awards tonight, but collectively AIG has been the outstanding protection insurer over the last year.


Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Legal & General

The winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award has spent much of his career in the mutual sector. Beginning with Permanent & Medical Sickness he eventually worked his way up to become CEO of Permanent Insurance. In 2000, when the company was sold by Equitable Life to Liverpool Victoria, he spent a number of years at LV but was recruited to develop the operation of Pioneer Mutual in Trowbridge. He oversaw the merger of Pioneer with Exeter Friendly and became CEO in 2010. Since then he has seen the company develop into an innovator and real force in the protection and health insurance market. Outside his own company he has served as Chairman and on the board of the Association of Financial Mutuals and is a very effective networker and passionate believer in the value of protection. A keen sailor and fan of Manchester United he has brought enormous energy and commitment to the protection market, particularly the income protection market throughout his career. The winner of the Protection Review Outstanding Achievement award for 2019 is Andy Chapman.

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