9 April 2020


Protection challenger looks to improve access to insurance during COVID-19. 

  • Guardian and Medical Screening Solutions have announced they will be carrying out a pilot of MSS’ new remote screening service.
  • The service, launched by MSS last week, consists of a remote digital, video assessment in place of face-to-face nurse screening examination; and a ‘customer kit pack’ for examinees containing a disposable tape measure (for waist / hip measurements), along with home test, self-collect, finger-prick, blood-testing kit.
  • Designed to improve access to insurance during COVID-19, the remote service would mean many applicants who require a medical screening are now able to proceed with their cover applications. 

Protection challenger Guardian, along with its partner, Medical Screening Solutions (MSS), have announced a pilot of MSS’ new remote screening service. Guardian, renowned for its forward-thinking approach and digital capability, is the first protection company to pilot the remote digital service since it was announced last week. The pilot will start today, 9 April 2020 and will focus only on those customers identified as suitable for remote screening. 

Julie Hopkins, Guardian’s Director of Underwriting & Claims Strategy, said: “In the last few weeks, COVID-19 has made it significantly more difficult for those requiring medical screenings to get access to insurance. At Guardian we feel strongly that those who need life and critical illness cover should be able to access it. So, we were keen to be the first to pilot the new remote screening solution offered by our partner, Medical Screening Solutions. It’s great that MSS has moved so quickly to find an alternative to face-to-face screening. At this stage, the arrangement is only a pilot, but if successful we see this becoming an important part of our toolkit for the future.” 

Jonathan Benton, Managing Director of Medical Screening Solutions, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Guardian on our first pilot for remote screening. While a remote approach is unlikely to ever fully take the place of face-to-face contact, the reality is that – at the moment due to COVID-19 – without it, we are leaving a big proportion of people who require medical screening behind in terms of access. Using secure GDPR compliant video-based technology and with our lab at the cutting edge of small sample finger-prick blood testing, we’ve worked hard to develop a remote service that minimises any potential fraud risk and maximises the amount of information we can make available so that insurers can underwrite appropriately. There are obviously tests that we won’t carry out remotely but the pilot will give us the chance to assess the customer experience, learn what works well, and from there we can see how this can become a bigger part of the industry’s screening offer, both now and going forward.” 

Caroline Froude, Guardian’s Head of Technical Underwriting, said: “We want to help those people who, because of COVID-19 and through no fault of their own, would see their applications postponed. Where we need a particular test, for example, a cholesterol test, we’ll be able to request this as normal through MSS’ remote screening and they’ll provide us with the results we need to underwrite. It may take a little longer than previously, but we expect the pilot will allow us to underwrite more applications and support those advisers who continue to write business up to our non-medical limits.” 

As a challenger, Guardian is known for thinking differently, and this pilot is no exception. Its business is built on achieving better outcomes for customers. With a brand promise of ‘Life. Made Better’ and an ambition for more people to have protection that they truly believe in, it works closely with its business partners, in this case with MSS, to give everyone, where possible, the chance of protection insurance. This follows Guardian’s recent announcement to increase Life Protection non-medical limits by 10% so more customers can get cover. 

MSS is a market leading provider of medical evidence gathering services to the UK and Irish Protection Insurance market. As seasoned experts in the medical screening process they combine high quality medical reporting with exceptional customer service. With a reputation for innovation, their aim is for this to shine through in all that they do. 

-Release ends- 

Notes to editors:

Press enquiries to Natalie Robinson, 07789 501146, or Jonathan Benton, 07968 978266,

Guardian Financial Services is an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly
All products are provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited (SFA) and we have an agreement with them to underwrite and issue the protection policies we distribute through the UK intermediary channel. As an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited, Guardian Financial Services Limited is the market-facing brand under which we promote our proposition and engage with advisers. 

Background to Guardian Financial Services, owned by Gryphon Group Holdings
Guardian, the new life and protection insurance business, launched in 2018 and pledged to grow the protection market. The brand promise of ‘Life. Made Better.’ reflects the company’s commitment to rethink and reinvent protection for the better; making sure customers get cover that’s easier to understand, simple to buy and designed to never let them down. 

Guardian’s business partners
Gryphon Group Holdings is majority owned by Punter Southall Group as the largest equity capital investor. Its back-end technology partner is Liss Systems, the UK arm of Nasdaq-listed EXL. Its front-end technology, branding and marketing partner is Space, UK based financial services specialists. Risk partners are Hannover Re and Gen Re.