Emerald Life, the UK’s first full-service insurer specifically for the gay and lesbian community, has chosen UK General Insurance as their partner to launch three new products in April 2016.

  • 04 Apr 2016 – 04:55 PM
  • News

Emerald Life decided to tailor products for the LGBT community after research they commissioned YouGov to undertake in September 2015 and February 2016 revealed that 8 out of 10 gay and lesbian people said that they would change their current provider to an insurer more sympathetic to their needs.

Heidi McCormack, Emerald Life CEO, explained that under the terms of the partnership with UK General, the business will sell home, wedding and pet cash plan with a travel insurance product to follow. She said: “There are 2.2 million (2012 Census) gay and lesbian people in the UK, over the age of 30, who we believe will respond positively to products and services designed with them in mind.”

She added: “Our research found that:

  • 39% would change call centre language surrounding the assumption of a partner’s gender;
  • 34% would recognise and celebrate LGBT as an important part of the community by depicting real LGBT people in adverts and promotional material;
  • 23% would like to see the LGBT community and its interests represented throughout the organisation;
  • 22% would like to see their insurer actively work to end discrimination and prejudice based on sexuality.”

Heidi said: “Small changes can make a huge difference to the customer experience, and we will prioritise our resources to service this important but under-served customer segment.”

UK General managing director Karen Beales said: “Many insurers have active diversity programmes, for example for recruitment, including UK General, but up to now products designed especially for LGBT customers are few and far between.”

“We are delighted to be helping break down barriers to offer specialist insurance in a manner that meets the LGBT community’s needs.”

Karen pointed to examples of how products met specific LGBT design criteria. The home insurance is the first to provide legal expenses cover for service provider discrimination based on a customer’s sexuality. HIV is not automatically excluded from medical cover in travel or wedding insurance and, furthermore, wedding insurance covers legal expenses in cases of discriminatory treatment by service providers.

Karen said: “None of the top providers for wedding insurance include this in their policies, even in light of recent high-profile cases in the media.”

She continued: UK General is aiming to become a £500m GWP business, built on our niche and specialist strategy. Price competition has created a huge market for standard insurance products, but there are large sections of our community who don’t conform to stereotypes and have specific needs which mass-market insurers cannot or will not provide.”

Background to the survey

The research was conducted by YouGov in September 2015 and February 2016 among 1,000 and 2,000 respondents respectively. Further data is available on request.

Almost 8 in 10 (79%) LGBT respondents said they would change the way insurance companies treated the LGBT community. The full list of specific changes mentioned:

  1. Change call centre language so the opposite sex of partners is not presumed: 39%
  2. Allow customers to register themselves and partners with appropriate gender title: 35%
  3. Recognise LGBT as an important part of the community by depicting or celebrating LGBT people in ads and promotional material: 34%
  4. Have the LGBT community and its interests represented throughout the organisation: 23%
  5. Actively work to end discrimination and prejudice: 22%
  6. Offer cover for issues or needs specific to the LGBT community: 17%
  7. Support LGBT charity or education projects with a donation from annual profits: 15%
  8. Commission research among the LGBT community to demonstrate a commitment to understand the feelings, needs and views of an important customer segment: 8%
  9. LGBT community could be better served by insurance companies: 47%
  10. Allow customers to register themselves and partners with appropriate gender title: 25%

For further information visit: https://www.emeraldlife.co.uk/about/we-listen/research-1