Thursday, 17 December 2015

Nationwide partners with RSA for UK's largest building society affinity deal

Nationwide Building Society has announced a new 5 year home insurance partnership with RSA, which will take effect from February 2017. The account, which has been held by Direct Line Group (DLG) for nearly 15 years, was worth just over £200m to the insurer in 2014. It is understood that the business was put out to tender by Nationwide in 2014 and there have been market rumours since Summer 2015, that RSA would be its new home insurance partner.   

The loss of the partnership represents a considerable blow to DLG's home insurance account. Not surprisingly perhaps, DLG has suggested that the Nationwide partnership was not as profitable as other household business and has emphasised that policies will effectively be "run-off" until Spring 2018.  

Nationwide is likely to be RSA's largest corporate partner and gives the insurer even greater market presence with mortgage lenders, where it currently works with a range of banks (Yorkshire, Clydesdale and Bank of Ireland) and building societies (including Yorkshire, West Brom and Nottingham). 

Nationwide continues to partner with LV= for motor insurance and Legal & General for life and protection products. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Asda cuts short its Brightside partnership

Asda Money has announced the end of its motor insurance partnership with Brightside; at least for new business. The two organisations have worked together since 2012, when a home and motor insurance partnership was signed, with hopes of generating £70 million GWP "within 18 months". 

The motor partnership was renewed in March 2014; supposedly for a period of 3 years and in March 2015, Brightside signed a deal to provide a motor aggregator to Asda Money customers. It is understood that following this decision, Brightside will remain the provider for Asda Money's car and van renewal book. The Hood Group replaced Brightside as home insurance partner in July 2014, with policies underwritten by RSA.

The suggestion has been made that this is a strategic decision by Asda to wind down new business sales of its financial services products, but at this stage, it is not known how and whether this will impact on the retailer's other insurance partnerships.  

Asda has a reputation for its frequent changes of insurance partners and relatively short-term deals. At the time of writing, it also works with BDML Connect for pet insurance and, since October 2015, with Insure & Go for travel insurance. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Principality extends partnership with L&G

Principality Building Society, the UK's 6th largest, has announced a new home insurance partnership with Legal & General. Some reports have suggested that the building society has "renewed" this partnership with L&G, but it is in fact, a new relationship for household cover. 

Legal & General has, however, partnered the Principality since 2013 when it replaced Aviva as the society's life insurance and financial planning provider. Principality also partners with Dignity for pre-paid funeral plans. 

The selection of L&G follows a tender exercise and sees the replacement of RSA as its home insurance partner. Nevertheless, RSA remains a market leader in terms of the number of building society home insurance partnerships, including Yorkshire, the West Brom and Nottingham. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Homeserve selects Aviva as its underwriting partner

Homeserve, the UK's second largest provider of home assistance policies, has selected Aviva as its underwriting partner in a 5 year deal, commencing on 18 November 2015. 

Homeserve mainly markets its products through a range of affinity partners (in the UK and overseas) and these include Thames Water, Anglian Water, United Utilities and Aviva itself. 

Rumours originally surfaced in the Summer that Homeserve was seeking to replace AXA (Inter Partner Assistance), its underwriting partner since 2007, as part of a tender process.

The value of the partnership is said to be in the region of £300 million GWP per anum, which represents a significant sum for both insurers. The UK home assistance market has been valued at approximately £1.3 billion per anum. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Sun Life partners with Brightside on home insurance

Following its recent entry into the pet insurance market with BDML (see our post dated 30th September 2015 for details), Sun Life has confirmed a new partnership with Brightside for home insurance, using the broker's existing household insurer panel. 

The partnership is for an initial 5 year period and supports Sun Life's ambitious growth plans of securing 250,000 customers in the next 4 years; even without an existing book of business to develop. At the time of writing, a household insurance quote system is not yet available on the Sun Life website. 

Sun Life is planning to add a number of new general insurance products and features to its range, following the recent recruitment of Simon Stanney as its GI Director. 

Brightside currently works with a small number of other partners; mostly on motor insurance. These include Asda Money (car), Churchill (van), NatWest (van) and Royal London (car). 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Virgin Money launches insurance partnership with last

Virgin Money has launched its new home and motor partnership with Ageas, having originally announced it in December 2014 (see our post dated 23rd December 2014 for details). As expected, Ageas will underwrite the household products and will use a panel of insurers for the motor product. Ageas will be providing the sales, servicing and claims capabilities for the new partnership. 

It is understood that the partnership does not involve the transfer of an existing book of business from BDML, Virgin Money's previous home and motor insurance partner and despite the attraction of the brand, the volume of Virgin Money insurance customers has never been considered significant.  

Nevertheless, Virgin Money does have a wide range of channels including 70 "stores" and "lounges", although this branch network does not offer mortgage advice, or the long-cherished "point of sale" household insurance opportunity for Ageas.  

Virgin Money continues to work with Insure & Go for its travel insurance, UK Insurance for pet insurance and Friends Life for life cover. 

Friday, 9 October 2015

Bupa chosen to partner with Benenden

Benenden, a leading healthcare and "well-being" provider has announced a partnership with Bupa, which has won a tender to administer a range of Benenden's products and to arrange diagnostic and treatment services for its 900,000 customers. The new partnership will extend the network of UK hospitals available to Benenden's customers.

The partnership is understood to be for 5 years and worth in the region of £200 million over this period. In July 2015, Bupa took over responsibility for Benenden's health cash plan product; which, since 2011, had been underwritten by Engage Mutual. 

Benenden recently announced a home insurance partnership with Hood Group (see our post dated 23rd July 2015 for details) and also works with Insure & Go for travel insurance. 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sun Life re-launches GI partnerships with BDML

Sun Life has announced the launch of a pet insurance partnership with affinity intermediary, BDML Connect; part of the Markerstudy Group. The cover is underwritten by Zenith Insurance, also part of Markerstudy. 

The launch of pet insurance is its first foray into the general insurance market for some time and follows the recruitment of Simon Stanney as "GI Director" in July. At the same time, Sun Life suggested that the launch of pet and subsequently home insurance, would be followed by car insurance and that the business aimed to secure 250,000 insurance customers in the next 4 years, based on a direct offering of "straightforward and affordable" products. 

Sun Life has previously partnered with Key Connect to provide home insurance, but the new provider has not yet been announced. It currently partners with a number of other providers including Golden Charter (funeral plans), Hugh James (will-writing) and Scottish Friendly (ISAs).  

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

RAC partners with Hood Group on travel

RAC, the motoring services group, has selected Hood Group as its travel insurance partner following a recent tender exercise. The range of new products will be made available to RAC's 8 million members and incorporates a range of optional covers including gadget, excess waiver, winter sports, cruises and weddings. Cover is underwritten by AXA.

The new partnership with Hood Group, saw the replacement of ACE as the RAC's travel insurance partner in August 2015; following a 3 year partnership. The RAC continues to work with a large number of other insurance partners, including BISL for car insurance, Towergate for classic car and Heath Lambert for home insurance.  

The partnership marks a significant success for Hood Group which announced its entry into the affinity travel insurance market as recently as July 2014 and launched its first travel insurance partnership with More Th>n in February 2015. The More Th>n product is underwritten by AmTrust. 

Age UK extends Ageas partnership by 10 years

Age UK Enterprises, the trading arm of the UK's leading later life charity, has signed a 10 year extension with its insurance partner Ageas. The partnership builds on the 10 year deal originally commencing in 2006 and will see the insurer continuing to provide home, motor and travel insurance to a customer base of 1.3 million. 

The partnership will be extended to include classic car, motor cycle and standalone breakdown cover. (Currently breakdown cover is available through Aria Insurance Services, formerly Europ Assistance.) 

It is understood that the partnership is worth in the region of £100 million annual premium income to Ageas, although historically it has never been regarded as one of the most profitable partnerships for the insurer. Age UK Enterprises benefited from £22 million insurance income in 2013-14. 

Ageas has been keen to secure the Age UK partnership renewal for some time and although the announcement does not come as a big surprise, the presence of the RIAS and Castle Cover brands within the Ageas Group does suggest an ongoing appetite for over 50s business for the insurer. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Lighthouse announces new and renewal partnerships

National financial advisory firm Lighthouse, has announced a new partnership with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in a 3-year deal to provide financial advice to its 160,000+ members. The partnership involves the provision of advice across a wide range of products including protection, mortgages, pensions and investments. 

In addition, Lighthouse has confirmed that it has also renewed a number of its other affinity partnerships with a range of organisations including unions, ASCL (18,000 members) and BFAWU (20,000 members) as well as employee group, "BA Clubs" (40,000 members). These are understood to be for 3 years and Lighthouse has also extended its partnership with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for a further 15 months.  

Lighthouse has been one of the most active providers of financial advice to employee groups, trade unions and professional associations, and other partnerships include Unite, GMB, Unison, CSMA and the RCM.

Friday, 28 August 2015

TSB partners with Aviva as Lloyds Bank GI loses out

TSB has selected Aviva as its new general insurance partner in a 7-year deal which commences with home insurance, but will extend to include motor, pet, travel and commercial covers. (At the time of writing, the household partnership has not yet been launched.)

The new partnership sees the replacement of Lloyds Bank General Insurance as TSB's home insurance provider; a decision which seemed inevitable following the split of Lloyds Bank and TSB in 2013. TSB does not currently provide other insurance covers to its 4.7 million customers, other than through its Added Value bank accounts, which include partnerships with AXA (travel insurance), LSG (mobile phone insurance) and the AA (motor breakdown). 

The partnership marks another significant success for Aviva in the banking and mortgage sector, where it continues to partner with Barclays, First Direct, HSBC and a range of building societies. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

Nissan partners with Maiden

Nissan Motors (GB) has selected Maiden Insurance as its insurance partner for car and light commercial vehicle insurance for a 3-year period. 

In doing so, Nissan has replaced iGO4 Partners (formerly Equity Insurance Partnerships) as its car insurance provider, although existing policies are expected to remain with iGO4 in run-off. 

The Nissan partnership commences in August 2015 and follows a major tender exercise. The successful bid represents another noteworthy partnership for Maiden in the UK motor manufacturer sector, alongside its existing Vauxhall deal. 

Europa Group is being used to administer the partnership for Maiden, and Ageas (as with Vauxhall), will underwrite the cover. It is also understood that a proportion of the premium is being reinsured by Maiden. 

The loss of Nissan represents a significant one for iGO4 Partners, which continues to work with Renault, Honda and Kia in this sector. Nevertheless, there are also strong market rumours that at least one of these brands is currently subject to a tender exercise.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Benenden selects Hood Group as its home insurance partner

Benenden - a leading provider of healthcare, "well-being" and cash plan solutions has announced a new partnership with Hood Group to provide home insurance to its 900,000 members. 

The new product range will be underwritten by RSA. Hood Group is one of the more active providers of home insurance in the affinity market and has recently extended its proposition to include travel insurance. Hood Group's home insurance partnerships with the Telegraph and Asda Money are also underwritten by RSA. 

Benenden currently partners with Insure & Go (Mapfre) to offer travel insurance to its customers and has publicly stated that it is planning to extent its product range to include motor insurance; a product which Hood Group does not currently offer. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The AA and Bank of Ireland sign 10 year partnership

The AA has announced a new partnership with the UK arm of the Bank of Ireland to offer a range of banking products, including savings, personal loans, credit cards and ultimately, mortgages. The partnership is for a 10 year period, but unlike an earlier financial services partnership with HBOS (prior to the financial crisis), it is understood that this is not in the form of a joint venture. 

The AA currently only offers savings accounts to customers with Birmingham Midshires, but has stopped offering credit cards and personal loans which it recently provided through small-scale partnerships with MBNA and Co-Operative Bank respectively. An AA-branded credit card will be the first product to be launched via the new partnership. 

Bank of Ireland UK continues to work with the Post Office in a similar capacity. This partnership, which started out as a joint venture in 2004, was renewed in 2012 (no longer as a JV) and extended until 2023. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Royal London partners with Brightside for car insurance

With only limited PR coverage, Royal London announced (April 2015) that it has selected Brightside as its car insurance partner. Royal London is the UK's largest mutual life and pensions company and has over 5 million policyholders and 0.5 million members. 

Insurance broker Brightside has been one of the more active insurance partnership providers in recent years and its deal with Royal London is scheduled to run for 3 years. 

The "brand stretch" of life and pensions policyholders into general insurance purchases has historically been mixed and this partnership raises the question as to whether a home insurance partnership might follow. 

Royal London previously entered into a partnership last year with Just Retirement for an annuity service aimed at its direct customers (See Benalder News item 13 August 2014 - 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Darlington partners with Wren Sterling for financial advice

Darlington Building Society has established a new financial advice partnership with the independent advisory business Wren Sterling, to offer its customers a range of financial planning services including protection, investment, retirement and pensions advice. 

Darlington, the UK's 21st largest building society, continues to partner with Direct Life & Pensions for "non-advised" protection products and also partners Arthur J. Gallagher for its home insurance products. 

Wren Sterling (previously Towergate Financial), which has approximately 110 advisers, has a number of similar partnerships with small and medium-sized building societies including Saffron, Nottingham and the West Brom. The announcement follows last week's partnership between Openwork and Dudley Building Society. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Openwork signs partnership with Dudley Building Society

Openwork financial advice network has signed a partnership with Dudley Building Society (the UK's 29th largest) to provide a full financial planning service (protection, investments, pensions and retirement planning). 

The service will be provided in the society's 6 branches by Openwork staff and is likely to be followed by the launch of "Dudley Financial Services" as an appointed representative (AR) of Openwork. The society currently has just over 30,000 members. 

This is believed to be the first building society partnership for Openwork and follows the recent successes of Towergate Financial in working with smaller building societies. Openwork replaces Legal & General as Dudley's financial advice partner.  

Dudley Building Society also partners with Estate Planning Group for its will-writing and estate planning services. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

Volkswagen selects Ageas as its motor insurance partner

Volkswagen Financial Services (UK) has announced the selection of Ageas UK as its motor insurance partner to cover the Volkswagen, Audi, SKODA, SEAT and Volkswagen Commercial brands. 

The new partnership commenced in April 2015. The product is underwritten by Ageas and a panel of insurers and will be managed and administered by Ageas Retail. The insurance partnership also complements Volkswagen "Ensurance"; the accident and repair cover provided by UK General (and also underwritten by Ageas). Volkswagen FS also partners with the AA for motor breakdown and MAPFRE for its Gap Insurance cover. 

Ageas has had considerable success in recent years with motor manufacturers and continues to work with Vauxhall and Toyota. The loss of the Volkswagen partnership is a significant one for Allianz, although it continues to work with Ford and BMW in this market sector. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

St James's Place partners with Metro Bank

An interesting but slightly unexpected partnership has been announced between wealth manager St James's Place and "challenger bank" Metro Bank. 

Launching in April 2015, the service will be branded as "St James's Place Money Management Account", and  "powered by Metro Bank. It will be made available to customers with more than £500,000 invested with St James's Place and will provide a range of services, including an overdraft facility worth up to 40% of a client's investments with the group. 

A separate but still operational "St James's Place Bank" remains as a division of the Bank of Scotland, dating back to the period when HBoS plc (subsequently Lloyds Banking Group) held a majority stake in St James's Place. Lloyds sold its remaining stake in the wealth manager in December 2013. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

uSwitch partners with ActiveQuote for life covers

uSwitch, the online comparison and switching website has partnered with ActiveQuote for its life insurance comparison service; covering income protection, critical illness and protection. ActiveQuote already provides the health insurance service for uSwitch. 

Direct Life and Pensions had previously provided a life insurance service for uSwitch, but this is not considered to be one of the largest life insurance partnerships; at least not in comparison with other aggregators.  

ActiveQuote also provides a health insurance comparison service for GoCompare and 

Friday, 30 January 2015

first direct ends new business partnership with iGO4

With only limited publicity at the start of the year, first direct bank has effectively ended its car insurance partnership with iGO4 Partners, and has stopped offering the product to its customers. It is understood however, that iGO4 Partners, previously known as "Equity Insurance Partnerships", will continue to handle motor insurance renewals for first direct

first direct's motor insurance has been underwritten by Ageas since June 2013 and the bank continues to partner with Aviva for its home and travel insurance, and with HSBC Life (UK) for protection. 

iGO4 Partners continues to partner with Santander for car insurance as well as a range of motor manufacturers, including Honda, Renault, Kia, Nissan and Dacia.   

Friday, 16 January 2015

Howden secures partnership with de Vere Group

Howden Insurance Brokers has secured a new partnership with de Vere Group, the international financial advisory firm. 

The partnership will be targeted towards the high net worth insurance needs of de Vere's 80,000 customers in over 100 countries worldwide. 

The partnership also marks an early foray into affinity partnerships by Howden. In partnership terms, the number of de Vere customers is relatively small, but the attraction must be the focus on targeted and specialist covers - for example, fine art, jewellery, yacht, private aircraft and overseas property. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Saga announces major partnership with Tilney Bestinvest

Saga and Tilney Bestinvest have announced a new joint venture partnership to provide investment and financial planning services to Saga's over 50s base. The new business, branded "Saga Investment Services powered by Bestinvest" is due to commence operations in Autumn 2015. Each partner will own 50% of the new business. 

The joint venture followed a detailed strategic review of potential operating models and partners. It plans to offer  execution-only, investment advisory, investment management and financial planning services through a range of distribution channels, including face-to-face advice on a national basis. 

Today's announcement suggested that Saga's existing personal finance business will operate separately from the new venture. This raises some interesting challenges given that the existing operation already includes, among others, a financial planning service from "my wealth" (Wealth at Work), life and annuity services from Legal & General and equity release and care funding from Just Retirement. 

In a separate announcement, Saga has also announced a partnership with Spire Healthcare to pilot a "home from hospital service", which is intended to help the resettlement of customers discharged from hospital.