Barclays has been awarded the first Kitemark for Financial Products by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
The bank’s Fixed-Term Life Insurance, underwritten by Aviva, has secured the stamp of approval for essentially ‘doing what it says on the tin’.
The Kitemark is new and has been developed to support the recommendations of the 2013 Sergeant Review of Simple Financial Products.
The review was commissioned by the Treasury to develop a set of principles that could help form easy to understand products that the general public would trust.
Financial products that go through the new BSI accreditation come with the reassurance that they have been independently assessed against the nine principles set out in the review.
These include things like using standard product names to clearly identify the nature of a product, being simply designed with features to meet basic needs, providing an easy way to purchase the product and being transparent on charges and fees.
Once BSI certification is granted, it has to be continuously upheld, as products will be tested on a regular basis. Should the BSI find a provider to be lacking, it can easily lose its accreditation, which under the last of the nine principles means customers are able to leave a deal penalty-free.
Ticking the right boxes
Barclays' Fixed-Term Life Insurance is the first product to achieve the BSI Kitemark for Financial Products.
Fixed-term life insurance will pay out an agreed lump sum to your dependents providing you die within a fixed period.
The BSI says through the removal of complex features like decreasing term and cover for joint applicants Barclays’ product meets the criteria for creditation.
The policy pays a pre-agreed lump sum in the event of death, the premiums are set and guaranteed for the life of the policy, cover is available for a specified term, the policy only covers one person and the only general exclusion is suicide within the first twelve months of taking out the policy.
The BSI Kitemark is a recognised symbol in the UK and around the world. Its influence spans a range of sectors including aerospace, construction, energy, healthcare and retail.
According to the BSI, two thirds of people in the UK associate its Kitemark with quality, assurance, reliability and trust. While 93% of adults believe BSI Kitemark products are safer and 75% say the BSI Kitemark will help make choosing between products easier.
The BSI accreditation scheme is open to any financial provider to use, subject to meeting the required criteria, but it is especially targeted at easy access savings accounts, 30-day notice savings accounts, regular savings accounts and fixed-term life insurance.