The product, known as Consultant Benefits, is similar to the company’s year-old Life Protector web-based life insurance plan, in that it enables would-be clients – in this case, individuals who work as consultants for, say, major marine industry employers or oil and gas companies – to sign up for up to $1.5m in life coverage, instantly, by filling in an online form and choosing the amount of coverage desired. Separate medical insurance, disability and evacuation coverage are also available.
To apply for the insurance, interested independent consultants will require “a password from the company they are working for”, which effectively proves they are in the company’s employ – and the company must have arranged to set up a scheme for its externals, according to Stephen Conway, the London-based head of global sales for Global Benefits Europe (GBE), an arm of the US-based Global Benefits Group.
If the consultant does not in fact work for the company, and eventually were to attempt to make a claim, it would be declined, he added.
“The key to the product is that we design each one for each company, to meet its own risk management requirements,” Conway said. “[This ensures] that the consultants are fully covered while under contract to the company.
“And by being online, it reduces greatly the workload for the company’s HR department.”
Conway said initial trials of the new product, begun in January, suggested that it will be popular with the thousands of independently-employed consultants who typically staff such facilities as offshore oil rigs, foreign oil and gas refineries.
Other types of businesses, including IT companies, are also expected to be interested in offering the insurance option to their external staffers, Conway added. Many of these consultants are working in high-risk jobs, and thus are likely to be eager to obtain such coverage, he noted.
As with Life Protector, companies will be able to “white label” their Consultant Benefits offering, Conway said.
Life Protector rates dropped
One year on from its launch, Life Protector continues to beat Global Benefits’ initial forecasts in terms of sales and profitability, Conway said, noting the company has been able to reduce its rates by between 12% and 40% globally, due to a combination of administrative efficiencies and help from its reinsurers. Average premiums are also running higher than expected as clients opt for higher-than-expected sums assured.
As of mid-February, Global Benefits had written “several hundred” Life Protector policies, many of which had been delivered to it via 87 white-labelled and co-branded websites of client companies, including, according to Conway, “all the major internationally-operating IFAs”.
Global Benefits Europe is a subsidiary of the privately-held, Foothill Ranch, California-based Global Benefits Group, which was founded in 1980 and which has as its motto “insurance without borders”.
Among its areas of concentration is group insurance for the foreign operations of multi-nationals, some 670,000 employees’ lives of which it insures around the world. Looking after the insurance needs of staff of international schools is another major area for the company, which currently has some 175 schools in 73 countries on its books.