Monday, 16 July 2012

McCarthy & Stone launches financial services

McCarthy & Stone, the UK's largest private developer of retirement properties has announced its entry into the financial services market. 

It has announced a partnership with Age Partnership to offer equity release and annuity comparison services, as well as will writing with Irwin Mitchell and a funeral plan with Dignity.

Some reports suggest that it is targeting 500,000 financial services customers within 12 months and aiming to take on established providers such as Saga, RIAS and Age UK in an already active over-50s market. It is expected that a home insurance offering will follow shortly. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

RAC selects ACE as travel partner

RAC has chosen ACE Group as its partner to offer travel insurance to its 7 million-strong membership. The insurance will be marketed primarily online, but also through RAC's breakdown network. 

RAC mainly works with insurance brokers on its major insurance partnerships, including Junction (BISL) for motor, Heath Lambert for household and Devitts for motorbike insurance. 

ACE Group already has a strong portfolio of other travel insurance distribution partners, including ASDA, Santander and Citibank. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

ASDA Money launched with new card partner

ASDA has announced the rebranding of ASDA Financial Services to "ASDA Money" and also, a new credit card partnership with Sygma Bank, part of Creation Financial Services. 

Creation is one of the few active credit card providers within the UK affinity market and operates credit and store card programmes with JJB, Marriott, Flybe and a range of football clubs. Creation is itself part of LaSer UK, owned by BNP Paribas and Galeries Lafayette. 

ASDA has previously worked with GE Money and most recently, Santander, as its credit card provider. Interestingly, its new website appears to be encouraging existing ASDA cardholders with a Santander-branded card, to move to the new card; which it claims is the first supermarket credit card offering cashback.

Friday, 6 July 2012

ASDA selects Brightside for home & motor

ASDA has selected Brightside as its new partner for car and home insurance. The Bristol-based broker will shortly replace BDML (Capita) as ASDA's partner, although it is understood that BDML will continue to provide pet insurance through its Thornside subsidiary. The future of ASDA's van insurance partnership with BDML is currently unknown.

Given its recent partnership with Debenhams on car insurance, this represents a major coup for Brightside, although given ASDA's well-known approach to hard negotiations, competitiveness and changing partners, it is likely to have to contend with small margins and short-term deals for the life of the partnership. 

ASDA continues to work with ACE for travel insurance and 3 separate partners (Lifesearch, LV= and Ageas Protect) for its range of protection products. 

Brightside wins Debenhams motor account

Debenhams has selected Brightside, the Bristol-based broker, as the provider of its car insurance offering. Motor insurance will be offered through Brightside's "Commercial Vehicle Direct" brand and will be available online and via the telephone. 

Debenhams already has a range of insurance partners, including Heath Lambert for household (signed in 2009), Insure & Go for travel and for life assurance. 

It is not altogether clear that there is sufficient brand stretch for Debenhams to make a huge success of car insurance, particularly if it seeks to operate through the aggregators, and  also, whether Brightside will be able to access any useful new rating data from working with the retailer.