What is Emerald Life?
Emerald Life was launched in 2016; our mission was and is to be the UK’s first insurance company tailored for the wants and needs of the LGBT community. This later became insurance for all that ensured equality of experience for the LGBT community, women and non-traditional families.
Founders Steve Wardlaw, Chairman
, and Heidi McCormack, CEO,
worked two years developing the concept prior to launch. Steve had long been considering how the LGBT community was treated in the insurance, financial services, healthcare and retirement sectors – and from friends and family feedback decided that more needed to be done. LGBT customers simply weren't being given equality of experience and often felt marginalised, with their needs going ignored. Heidi is a strong advocate of women's issues and felt that there was an overlap with LGBT issues.
Emerald's offering has been designed with the needs and wants of the LGBT community, women and non-traditional families at its heart – from our rewritten policies, to our call centre team, who've been specially trained in working with customers regardless of sexuality, gender or family structure. That means no awkward silences and no assumptions about sexuality for example.
Who owns Emerald Life? Does an insurance company own you?
Emerald Life is a privately-owned business, led by founders Steve Wardlaw and Heidi McCormack, with the backing of a small group of investors. As insurance brokers, we work with various insurers who underwrite the specially-tailored policy terms we offer our customers.
What are Emerald Life’s values?
We are not just an insurance broker. A core set of values underpins everything we do. In a nutshell, our values are to deliver equality of experience to customers, to advocate the causes affecting the communities we serve (LGBT, women and non-traditional families) and develop long and trusting partnerships with our customers – whoever they may be – and to make sure that we deliver fair, transparent and competitive products for our customers
We genuinely want to help improve the lives of people in the LGBT community, as well as women and those in non-traditional family structures and we've already started doing this through the our partnerships. In addition to this, we're focused on listening to our customers and the community, proactively integrating feedback and suggestions to improve our offering and services.
Part of your commitment is to the LGBT community. How does that work?
Our commitment to the whole LGBT community, as well as other underrepresented groups, means that before we offer a product or service, we want to truly understand the customers we're offering it to.
For example, we offer tailored transgender products and services that we hope meet the needs of the trans community, although we keep this under review. This is why we've established 'T Squad', our trans advisory group. They are helping us to understand the needs of the transgender community and research trans-inclusive polices.
How are you covering bisexual issues?
One of the things insurance companies are most insensitive about is assuming that a new customer's partner will be of the opposite sex. In the case of bisexuals, this situation can become even more awkward when a customer informs their insurer that their new partner is of a different gender to their previous one. Our call-centre staff have been specially-trained to provide non-invasive, respectful service to all our customers and won’t make assumptions.
What's more, the extra protection we offer in our policies – like the legal expenses cover in our Home Insurance for discrimination based on sexuality – applies to bisexual customers too.
If there's an aspect of cover that you think would benefit the bisexual community but is missing, please let us know by signing up to Emerald Connect. We're proud to say that we listen to and act on feedback from our customers and the community.
Do you also provide insurance for customers outside the LGBT community, women or non-traditional families??
Yes we do. We provide great cover in all our policies and have added in features that cover the additional issues where certain groups in society may need additional assistance. That great cover also works for everyone. We expect allies are interested in our policies, not just because of the level of coverage, but also because they agree with our values of equality and inclusion and find us very competitively priced. We welcome comments and feedback from all our potential customers, regardless of sexuality, gender or family structure.
Is Emerald Life only an insurance company?
Yes. We currently offer insurance for home and contents, pets, term life, travel and weddings. We're looking to expand our range soon, so watch this space for new products – you can also keep up-to-date with our news by signing up to Emerald Connect.
Who are the Emerald management team?
Check out our team bios for more information on the people behind Emerald Life.
As an example, what specifically makes Emerald Life an insurance provider focused on the LGBT community?
Times have changed since the days when the only way a gay man
could get life insurance was not to be open about his sexuality – or when the
notion of same-sex partnerships would confuse insurers. While this kind of
discrimination is a lot less common, it still exists - often unknowingly on the
part of the insurer, which may simply have not thought about customer care and
respect issues that are specific to the LGBT community and do not therefore
feature in the insurer’s customer journey.
For a start, LGBT customers often still find it awkward to deal with the
questions and assumptions of insurance firms, which is where Emerald comes in.
From our rewritten policies, to our online experience, to our specially-trained
call-centre staff, we have the needs of gay and lesbian customers at the heart
of everything we do – meaning getting insurance is as simple and convenient as
it should be.
What is the ‘Emerald Difference’?
We feel there are five key areas in which we're different:
Our policies are non-discriminatory
Our research and feedback has show that that, even today, there
are still areas of discrimination like automatic exclusions of cover for
HIV-related claims in some policies, or unfair pricing for single parents in travel policies. With Emerald, you can be sure that our
policies are free from this kind of discrimination.
Our policies are
Emerald provides equality of service for the LGBT community, women and non-traditional families – meaning
you get peace of mind without paying over the odds. Our policies also have a
number of specific covers including legal expense support to bring about a
claim against a discriminatory supplier or a 24-hour helpline if you're
arrested or detained abroad because of your sexuality, or if you are a woman traveller who has been assaulted.
agents are specially trained
LGBT customers or those outside a nuclear family often face awkwardness and assumptions when
speaking to insurance companies – whether it's on the subject of sexuality or
the gender of a partner, or the assumption that there isa husband.
The staff in our main UK call centre are specially trained to know exactly how to work with customers from diverse backgrounds – and never assume, or ask
prying questions. Click here to learn more about our systems.
partners are just as committed as we are
The partners we work with to provide Emerald products and
services – be they underwriters or our UK claims-handlers – have all received
specific training from Emerald on diversity; they're well-placed to offer the best
customer journey possible to our consumers.
Our work doesn't
just stop at insurance
We take an active role in the communities we serve and have strong
partnerships in place with some leading charities and organisations working for equality. Read how we're working with them to positively impact the communities we serve here.
The LGBT community has come a long way in the last decade. Why do they need a tailored insurance offering? And does the same apply to women?
Thankfully, LGBT consumers are feeling increasingly empowered by
the fact that issues relevant to them have become more mainstream. We believe
that these customers are, quite rightly, now looking for a provider that gives
them an offering tailored to their lifestyles. They're no longer swayed by a
big insurer including a pink triangle or rainbow flag in their advertising and
are more and more coming to realise the importance of tailored financial,
health and retirement planning.
Some of the same issues arise in many women's experience of financial services, with assumptions that there is a male partner, or that a woman customer must be thinking of having children. This leads to awkward questioning, and a customer feeling that they are somehow in the wrong.
At Emerald, we hope we can meet the evolving needs of the our LGBT and women customers. If there is some area of cover you’d like to see which is missing
from our offering, please let us know via Emerald Connect.
Are all your staff trained in diversity issues?
Yes indeed, but we always continue to learn more. We're happy to have an extremely diverse team of staff and
consultants, hired because of their talent experience, and understanding of
Emerald’s values and our work with underserved and under-represented communities.
Why is Emerald not on price-comparison sites?
Read our view on price-comparison
sites in full here.
Where is Emerald based?
Our head office is in central London and our call-centre is also based in the UK. You can find out how to contact us here.
How can I contact you?
How is your service proposition different?
Are your products more expensive because they include terms allowing for real equality for certain groups?
No. We don't think any customers should have to pay
any more or any less than any other customers to receive the same service levels – so you'll find all our policies
are extremely competitively priced for the excellent cover that we provide.
Do you have pre-existing medical condition exclusions, or premium increases in your travel policies (including for HIV and hepatitis B and C)?
Please see our Travel FAQs for
our position on pre-existing medical conditions.
What other products do you intend to offer in the future?
We're committed to broadening our product range to better serve
the needs of the communities we serve. When new products are available, we'll be
happy to let you know – just sign up to Emerald Connect to stay in the loop.
How are my personal details protected? What security do you have in place?
Emerald Life complies with all relevant customer data protection
requirements and UK regulations concerning the sale of insurance to customers –
and our staff undertake regular compliance training. We'll never store your
personal or financial data longer than necessary.
Please refer to our Privacy page or Cookies page for more information.
How can I make a claim?
The best way to make a claim is to ring our call-centre using
the relevant number from the list below. If possible, for our policies that are
not Term Life, please try to call us within 24 hours of your need to make a
Home and contents: 0330 041 2190
Term life: 0207
Pet: 03332 205510
Wedding: 0330 041 2192
Travel: 0330 041 2191
Also, please note the following numbers for emergency medical
treatment under an Emerald travel policy:
- Inpatient treatment, anywhere in the
113 3180 197
Fax: +44 113 3180
- Outpatient treatment, anywhere in the
world, excluding North America and the United Kingdom:
Tel: +44 113
Fax: +44 113 3180 125
- Outpatient treatment, in North America
and the United Kingdom:
(0) 113 3180 197
Fax: +44 (0) 113
More information on claims can be found in our claims FAQs
How do I make a complaint?
We're sorry that there's something that you'd like to complain about. If your complaint is about a claim, for policies other than Pet, please email email@example.com or call 0330 041 2113. If your complaint is about the sales process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0330 131 9960.
For a Pet Policy, please email email@example.com or call 03332 205510 or write to FREEPOST, PetAdmin.
You can also write to us at Emerald Life Customer Relations, 2 Melford Court, The Havens, Ransomes Europark, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9SJ
If your complaint relates to insurance purchased from us via electronic means then you are also able to use the EC On-line Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform at www.ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/ who will notify FOS on your behalf.
How can I contact Emerald with a question?
The best way to get your question answered quickly is to email email
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0330 131 9950. Before
you get in touch, it's worth checking to see if you can find the answer in our