Frequently asked questions

Note: these Q & As are offered for general guidance only. For specific terms and conditions that apply, please see the relevant policy terms and conditions and technical guides. There shouldn't be any discrepancy between what they say and the information here, but, if there is, it's the policy terms and conditions and technical guide versions that apply!

About Ellipse in general

Ellipse?

As a new company, we have been able to take advantage of the latest, web-based technology to create systems that are user-friendly, fast and efficient. Where other insurers might have, or be considering, web-based systems as a supplement to their existing business, Ellipse has built its whole business around them.

This means you get:

  • Fast, clear communications in a secure environment
  • Competitive premiums because we keep our expenses to a minimum

And you can have confidence in our financial strength as part of Munich Re.

What is Ellipse?

Ellipse is the trading name of the UK branch of ERGO Lebensversicherung AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Munich Re.

ERGO Lebensversicherung AG was established in the UK (under the previous name of Hamburg- Mannheimer AG) on the 14th of August 2009 under the Freedom of Establishment regulations and trades as Ellipse. Its business is 100% reinsured by Munich Re AG through UK Life Branch.

Is Ellipse financially strong?

Yes. We are the UK branch of ERGO Lebensversicherung AG, one of the leading providers of insurance products in Germany, which is itself part of Munich Re. For our current financial strength ratings from the main rating agencies, please click here.

How is Ellipse regulated?

We are the UK branch of ERGO Lebensversicherung AG, one of the leading providers of insurance products in Germany.

As the UK branch of ERGO Lebensversicherung AG we are authorised, and our liquidity and solvency are regulated, by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin), the German financial regulator. Our registration number is 1184.

How we conduct our business is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Full details of how we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority can be found in SUP13A Annex1 and Annex 2 of the FCA Handbook through the following links:


The cover we offer

What event limits can Ellipse offer?

Event limits apply to group life schemes and are limits placed on the value of claims payment that will be paid following a single catastrophic event, or a series of linked events. Using the specific postcode of the location, Ellipse has categorised the whole of the UK into risk areas to calculate the event limit available. We can generally offer up to £100m within one postcode, but on a case-by-case basis we can provide £300 million or even £500 million. If you have any clients with more than £100m covered at one particular location please contact us on 020 3003 6262 with the postcode of the location and we will tell you the potential event limit available. Please note, postcodes must reflect actual workplace locations and not P.O. box numbers.

Does Ellipse cover employees not based in the UK?

Generally, yes. There are a few countries that we feel are just too dangerous to provide cover in, but otherwise we can usually cover scheme members outside the UK as long as they are eligible to join a UK scheme, with a UK contract of employment and liable to UK tax. We are a UK insurer, though, so we do expect the majority of any scheme's members to be resident and working in the UK.

What are the key selling points of your products?

It’s our automated, web-based systems and the way we handle group risk insurance that set us apart from the competition, rather than the products themselves. However, opting for our automated service doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice any policy features. We’ve researched the market carefully and designed our products to offer the best features available anywhere, and we will continue to do this in the future.

What products do you offer?

Ellipse offers group life,group critical illness and group income protection (Sick Pay Complete) policies.

What are your actively at work (AAW) requirements?

When it comes to group life cover, we take a different approach to other group risk offices when it comes to handling absent employees.  Although we require them to be actively at work if they are choosing options under a flex scheme or have received a substantial pay rise (both of which scenarios leave us exposed to potential anti-selection), we feel that applying actively at work conditions can leave schemes and members exposed to the risk of gaps in cover.  After all, nobody can know before cover starts exactly who, if anyone, will be absent on that date.  Instead, we ask for details of members who have had substantial amounts of sickness absence during the past year - information that is in the past and hence both known and verifiable.  For a full explanation of our approach, please click here.

Do you do 'once and done' underwriting?

Yes, once a member has been assessed, if they are accepted at ordinary rates or loaded the premium by no more than +500%, we will not normally have to assess that member ever again. ‘Once and done’ underwriting will not apply if we have loaded benefits by more than +500% or if we have declined to offer some (i.e. applied an exclusion) or all cover for that member.

Where we take over the insurance of existing schemes whose members have enjoyed 'once and done' underwriting, we will not usually do any further assessments of them until the previous scheme's once and done limit has been exceeded.

What is your 'once and done' limit?

Once and done applies up to sums assured of £5 million per member (including the capitalised value of any death in service pension).

Do you offer forward underwriting above the 'once and done' limit?

Yes. Once the limit is exceeded, we assess cover in £500,000 blocks, i.e. once a member's benefit is accepted at its current level, no further assessment will be done until the benefit exceeds 'current level + £500,000'.

For an existing scheme would you accept members on a 'no worse terms' basis?

Yes. If an existing scheme transfers, then we will accept acceptance decisions with a maximum loading of 400% and made less than 5 years ago on a no worse terms basis (including honouring existing ‘once and done’ terms). We will transfer existing levels of cover up to £5 million (including capitalised death in service pensions). If an employee has been previously underwritten and the decision was to decline or postpone then they will be covered for their previous level of insured cover. If the decision was to restrict cover to the AAL, then they will be covered for either the higher of the old AAL or the previous level of cover insured.

Do you offer temporary cover above the AAL?

Yes. We offer temporary cover of up to £5 million for 30 days, which is plenty of time for members to be assessed online (especially because they will be using our fast member assessment process). We know other insurance companies typically offer longer periods of temporary cover, but it’s a reflection of how much longer they can take to assess members!

And unlike some of our competitors, we don't charge any premium for temporary cover.

Temporary cover is subject to the following conditions:

  1. if a claim arises directly or indirectly as a result of any medical condition (whether known by the member or not) suffered within the last 2 years immediately prior to the temporary cover starting, the temporary cover will not apply (benefits paid will be limited to the amount the member was previously entitled to)
  2. temporary cover will not be given to any individual:
  • who has previously been declined, offered cover on non-standard terms or where a decision on their benefits has been postponed.
  • who has failed to provide medical evidence that has been requested.
  • who is joining outside of the eligibility conditions or is being offered a benefit greater than the rules of the scheme provide for.
  • who is a late entrant.

Temporary cover is limited to a maximum of £5 million of total benefit.

When does temporary cover start?

Temporary cover starts from the date you notify us that the member's benefit has exceeded the AAL, its therefore important that you notify us immediately to ensure that the member does not have any gaps in cover.


Online security

How secure is your 'secure' website?

Our security policies conform to standards as outlined by the W3C – the World Wide Web Consortium – which is the main international standards organisation for the World Wide Web (WWW).

We use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption for the dialog forms provided on our web pages. SSL protects the data you send us against unauthorised third-party access.

All logon sessions automatically expire after a period of inactivity requiring the user to log back into the system to resume their session.

How many people within my organisation can register?

There is no limit on the number of people within your organisation who can register.

I am an adviser – who should have access to my online account with Ellipse?

Anyone within your firm can register. Once they have, they will be able to access all the information about your company’s account with Ellipse, including client policy documentation, correspondence and agency account det

 

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I am one of your clients – who in my firm should register to use your secure website?

One person within a client firm must be designated as the administration contact, who will be the point of contact with Ellipse and will receive notifications of new documents being available. Either the same person, or a second one (who can be your adviser, if you prefer), can be designated as a data contact, who uploads data when this is due. The registered administrator at the client can also set up access for other users within their organisation. This will allow access to the document store to receive documents as appropriate.

I am having problems logging into my account. Who can I contact?

Contact our client service team at clientservice@ellipse.co.uk or on 020 3003 6226.


Getting quotations (Information for advisers)

My group life cover is organised into two separate schemes for legal reasons, but they are administered as though they were all one scheme with the same premium rate basis, automatic acceptance limit, etc, applying to both: can I still get an online quote?

Yes. Combine both schemes and process through the online system as if they were only one scheme. If you then want to go on-risk, please tell us of the need to split the scheme between two (or more) trusts. The premium you have been quoted won't change.

What type of quotations can I obtain through the online system?

Ellipse has built an online quotation system which will allow registered advisers to obtain quotes in 9 steps. This is for group life, dependants' death in service pensions, group critical illness and Sick Pay Complete schemes with between 2 and 500 lives (300 max for CI and Sick Pay Complete).

Why is there no unit rate on my quote?

A unit rate is an average cost applied across a scheme to all members, regardless of their age, sex, occupation or anything else. We don't use them. Instead, we take the age of each member and charge the rate specific to the amount of cover each of them has within the scheme. There is no cross-subsidising or averaging involved. The only thing that's similar to a unit rate about our approach is that we guarantee that the basis for calculating your premiums will be fixed for 2 years. At the end of each two year period, we look at the premium basis applying to your scheme and let you know if it needs to change at all, explaining the impact on the actual premiums you will be paying for the subsequent two years.

Can Ellipse quote for schemes with more than 500 lives?

Yes. If you have any Group Life schemes with more than 500 members or Group Critical Illness schemes with more than 300 members, please send a scheme specification and full data to quotes@ellipse.co.uk.

There is no upper limit to the number of members we can quote for. As is the case for quotes of any size, your company will need to have set up an agency before any quotes can be provided.

Can Ellipse quote for flex schemes?

We not only can, we're very keen to, and for schemes with any number of members, too. Our systems have been designed to integrate seamlessly with benefits platforms.

For advisers with the appropriate software to run flex schemes, we can even offer online quotes for group life up to 500 members and group critical illness up to 300 members.

For quotes that cannot be handled online, please send the details of what you need, including full member data to quotes@ellipse.co.uk

When quoting online, how do I decide what industry/activity my client fits into?

Our industry and activity lists are broadly based on the 2007 Standard Industry Codes sections and divisions – if you aren't sure which area to put a company in, the explanatory notes you can find here contain more detail on which type of company goes where. 

If you cannot find an option that fits your client exactly, pick one that is close enough to be reasonable. We aren't going to penalise you or your client if you pick an option that is incorrect but not blatantly so.

If your client operates in more than one field, use the one which involves the majority of the workforce.

Why do you only ask for the member data at the end?

That's deliberate. None of the process takes long, but loading up the data is the most time-consuming part. We don't want you to spend time doing this, only for us then to say 'Thanks, but we cannot quote'. Our questions are asked in the order they are so that IF we cannot quote, we let you know as soon as possible and none of your time is wasted.

I have a registered scheme which has an excepted top-up cover element, can I still get a quote online?

Yes. Please process as one single scheme, to obtain one quote. If you would like to accept the quote, please notify us that the scheme is to be split and tell us which bit needs to be in a registered scheme and which in an excepted one. The premium you have been quoted won't change.

What information about your client do you need to get a quotation online?

Apart from obvious things, like the nature of your client's business and what benefits are required, make sure you know the following:

For all schemes: The following data for each member

  • Salaries
  • Dates of birth
  • Gender
  • Postcode locations

Having provided salaries and the benefit basis, our system will work out each member's benefit. The only exception is if you are getting a quote for death in service pensions based on members' prospective retirement pensions. In this case, there is no way our system can calculate the benefit, so you will need to know the actual amount required for each member. We will need to know the number of members who travel abroad for work purposes, specifically to these countries.

For schemes that already exist

  • How many claims have there been and what benefits paid out over the last five years?
  • Have any members benefits' been declined, postponed or restricted to the automatic acceptance (aka free cover) limit?

For group life schemes only

We need to know if there any members who are absent due to illness or injury and have been

  • in schemes with up to 50 Members, for one week or longer
  • in schemes with between 51 and 500 Members, for four weeks or longer
  • in schemes with 501 or more Members, for twelve weeks or longer

We will want to know the reason for their absence, and the date their absence started and how much cover they have.  We also need the same information about any members who have retired early but are still entitled to cover.

Can I get a quote online for an excepted scheme?

Yes.

Apart from online quotes, how else can I get a quote from Ellipse?

If your scheme has more than 500 lives for group life or 300 lives for group critical illness, or is part of a flexible benefits arrangement, please send details, including member data, to quotes@ellipse.co.uk. As with our online service, you will need to have an agency with Ellipse before we can provide any quotes.

Don't I need to tell what individual members' jobs are?

No. Ellipse's unique approach to rating group schemes relies just on knowing what business your client is in and combining that information with members' salaries. It saves you having to find out what every single member's occupation is.

Can I obtain a quote online for group life & DISP where some, but not all, of the members are different?

The way to handle this is to obtain separate quotes for each benefit but, if you then decide to place the business with us, contact us before you need cover to start. One automatic acceptance limit will apply across both benefits, as will the event limits.

Do you need to know about members with benefits restricted?

We only need to know if members have had benefits declined or postponed. If a member has been restricted due to non-provision of medical evidence, or has been loaded, we do not need to know at quote stage. Restricted members will remain restricted to their previous level of cover insured, and loaded members will have their benefits loaded accordingly at inception.

I don't know if there are any members long-term absent: can I still get a quote?

No. Our business operates on the basis that information that is material to the price, terms and conditions applicable to each policy should be provided up front.

There is at least one long-term absentee, but I don't know what the cause of absence is. Can I still get a quote?

Yes. There is an option for you to select 'Unknown' conditions, but this will tend to push our price up and in some cases may mean that we can't quote. To get the best price from us, please make every effort to establish the specific conditions suffered.

When selecting category details, can I use my own definitions?

Yes, you can select the free text option and enter in your own definition. Although you will be able to get a quote, it will be marked as 'illustrative' and if you decide to set up a policy our underwriters will need to confirm the category definition you have entered is acceptable before we can go on-risk. That being the case, we encourage you to use the definitions already given as much as possible, to ensure you receive an immediate, binding quote.

What is the member upload template?

This is an excel spreadsheet already formatted in the specification required by the website. When you open it, save a copy of this file. Then, open your data file in the same Excel window (by clicking 'File, open').

Then, copy across your data into the relevant columns on the other - 'Your data' - tab. NB: Rather than just pasting, select 'Paste special' and select 'values' - this will make your data more likely to be accepted without any errors that might otherwise be caused by, for example, formulae being present. Please note the system uploads from a single worksheet, so member data must be shown only in the 'Your data' tab, and this tab must be kept to the left of any other tabs in the file.

We have set up the spreadsheet so that it should convert your data into a format recognised by our system.

Once you have entered your data, save the file in 2007 format, i.e. as a .xlsx file type. Please do not encrypt the file or add any password protection - you will be uploading to a secure environment. Next, use the 'Browse' button to locate it on your network. Then click 'Next' and the file will be uploaded.

After the data has been uploaded, you will be asked to confirm the headers applicable to each column in order to validate that the upload has been performed correctly. If any column headers are missed, data in these columns will not be recognised and multiple errors generated.

Is it possible to obtain variations of a previous quotation?

Yes, you can use the 'Manage quotes' section of the secure website to retrieve quotes and then requote them with, for example, a new benefit structure. If you are working with new membership data, you will need to start a new quotation, but you can save time by importing some information, such as membership categories, from the earlier quote.


Looking after your scheme (for clients and advisers)

What is the on-risk process?

Once the adviser has obtained an online quote, if the client decides to take it up the adviser should go to the 'Manage quotes' option on their homepage, select the quote and in the far right column choose the 'Accept quote' option. 

If the quote wasn't done through the online system, the adviser should contact us through quotes@ellipse.co.uk or on 020 3003 6262 with the following information:

  1. Client name
  2. Quote code
  3. Client's Companies House registration number
  4. Contact name and email address for the client (it should be someone with authority to form a contract)
  5. For registered group life schemes, the PSTR number

You can also reach our Sales team on 020 3003 6262 if you have any queries before putting a scheme with us.

We will issue a pre-populated application form to the document store and send an email to the client with a copy to the adviser requesting its completion.

Any remaining information, including the email addresses of any members over the AAL (if applicable), should be entered. The client should then sign and return both the application form and direct debit mandate to us at quotes@ellipse.co.uk

Ellipse will then to confirm by e-mail that cover has commenced for the scheme.

Once the scheme is on-risk, within 14 days Ellipse will require the inception data for the scheme, including members' National Insurance numbers.

Please note that we need the signed application form before cover can commence. We also need a scanned copy of the signed DDM, unless the policy covers at least 500 members and the policyholder has opted to pay annually by bank transfer.

If the quote you have obtained is marked as 'illustrative' please follow the same process, but be aware that we will need to confirm our acceptance prior to going on-risk.

If we choose to pay by direct debit, do we need to send you the original completed direct debit mandate?

No, this is no longer required. We only need to receive a scanned copy of the signed Direct Debit mandate.