Our Story

How the UK’s LGBT-tailored insurance service came to be

Something had been bothering Steve Wardlaw, Emerald Life's co-founder and chairman for years. Regular discussions with friends in the LGBT community had led him to the conclusion that the insurance industry, as a whole, was neglecting the needs of its gay and lesbian customers. And it wasn’t just insurance either. The financial services, healthcare, and retirement sectors, Steve found, were equally as clumsy when it came to understanding their LGBT customers. Small but significant blunders – such as insurance firms assuming that one’s partner would automatically be of the opposite sex – were commonplace, and even expected within the community. Most calls to insurers would inevitably reach that awkward moment in which the gay or lesbian customer was forced to come out in order to describe their personal situation.

So Steve and Heidi McCormack, co-founder and CEO, decided to do something about the situation. That something turned into Emerald Life.

The vision for Emerald Life was to one day offer the LGBT community equality in their everyday dealings with finance, health, and retirement. The first rung on the ladder to getting there is Emerald Life’s insurance services for the gay and lesbian community.

Insurance with LGBT advocacy at its heart

Two years in the making, Emerald Life’s insurance services were put together meticulously, after countless reworkings and consultations with members of the LGBT community. In Steve’s words, “We wanted to get it right. We wanted to make sure that all parts of the insurance process – website, policies, call-centre scripts – were redone, and make sure that our customer service, our products, and our customer journey was exactly right for our community.” But Heidi and Steve aren’t as over-confident as to assume that they have all the answers just yet. Heidi adds, “For the first time, the gay and lesbian community has been thought about and their needs and wants taken in to account. And, of course, we still want lots of feedback!”

And what about the ‘important stuff’? While Emerald Life is a new company, the team working on it are no strangers to the world of insurance. An experienced group of insurance specialists advises us on every aspect of our offering. We want to be sure the needs of the gay and lesbian community are always at the heart of what we do.

We’ve partnered with some of the largest names in the UK underwriting market, with UK General – one of the most trusted white label insurers in the country – standing as our principal underwriter. It also goes without saying that we’re regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Lloyd’s of London to make sure all our actions are carried out with the transparency and integrity that our customers deserve.

Equality of experience

There are little actions or omissions that make the journey for LGBT customers just that bit more difficult. With LGBT equality in so many other aspects of life, it should certainly be achievable in things as everyday as insurance, health, and retirement. And it can be.

Let Emerald Life show you how.

Human Dignity Trust
Diversity Role Models
The Albert Kennedy Trust