Dec 5, 2017

Press Release: Group risk brand ‘Optimal’ to close to new business

Holloway Friendly has decided to close its group risk brand ‘Optimal’ to new business with immediate effect.

Holloway Friendly CEO Stuart Tragheim says “It is with regret that we have to announce the closure of our Group Life subsidiary, Optimal Protection. In 2016, Optimal’s parent company conducted a strategic review. One conclusion was that Optimal had to achieve greater scale in its market. During 2017, it has become clear that, despite record breaking levels of new business, the scale needed for a viable and healthy future was unlikely to be achieved. As a mutual organisation Holloway Friendly must preserve value for our members, which is our primary concern.

Optimal will of course continue to maintain current schemes and benefits whilst we go through this process ensuring schemes have continuation of cover.

We have been working hard with Canada Life to ensure clients can continue to be offered competitive cover, great service and a range of benefits. Canada Life will be working with advisers to offer clients an enhanced product at their existing premium rate and the opportunity to transfer with the minimum of fuss.”

On Monday 27 November 2017, Optimal wrote to all advisers to outline how to access the offer with Canada Life and began to follow up with phone calls. Canada Life will offer enhanced policy terms to the adviser and their client. All schemes will have continuity of cover during this period.

Optimal and Canada Life understand that adviser time is precious and have agreed a process that will ensure that renewal is made as easy as possible for advisers and their clients.

The transition will:

  • Ensure that advisers and their client(s) experience a seamless transfer from Optimal to Canada Life with no break in cover.
  • Retain or enhance the existing terms and conditions such as free cover level and event limits.
  • Provide a dedicated team to support the transfer of Optimal business, led by the advisers’ usual Canada Life Account Manager. If an adviser doesn’t currently work with Canada Life, they will allocate an Account Manager to the adviser. Claims incurred until the scheme transfers or ceases will continue to be assessed and paid (if valid) by Optimal.

Claims incurred after that date will then be assessed and paid (if valid) by Canada Life if the scheme is transferred to them using the process outlined.

Tim Stoves, Managing Director at Canada Life says “as the market leader in group risk, and group life specifically, we were chosen by Optimal as the best option for their clients. Both organisations do provide a quality service which can make the transfer to us as smooth as possible.

Canada Life look forward to working with advisers to provide a continuity of support for employers. As well as retaining the current benefits profile and rates, we have enhanced the original Optimal Support Service offering with additional benefits. We are proud of the standard of service which we provide and we look forward to welcoming Optimal customers.”

Following this announcement Holloway Friendly has considered how the business will need to be structured in future and with regret it can confirm that Andy Milburn, Marketing and Propositions Director has left the business. Stuart Tragheim, CEO of Holloway Friendly says “I would like to personally thank Andy for the positive contribution he made to the business and wish him all the best for the future.”


Editor notes

If you have any further questions please email them to Stuart Tragheim via

This release is for immediate issue at 13:00 GMT on 5th December 2017 via email and

Holloway Friendly is the original Holloway income protection company founded over 135 years ago in 1880 by the MP for Stroud, George Holloway, and was the first insurer in the UK to offer cover against loss of income through accident, or illness.

Holloway Friendly is a mutual friendly society active in the UK advised income protection market. It currently offers products which protect members and their families against income lost through accident and sickness, via financial advisers from its HQ in Gloucester.

  • Holloway Friendly is financially strong with assets of over £51m under management.
  • It has a good claims record – 96% of all claims paid out in 2016 (individual protection).
  • The mutual has recently recruited a new senior management team led by CEO Stuart Tragheim who is leading the delivery of their new growth strategy in the UK individual protection market.
  • Optimal is Holloway’s group risk brand. It was launched in March 2014 and has sold small group life schemes through financial advisers in the UK for over three years.
  • The Optimal business is a wholly owned subsidiary of Holloway Friendly and is based in Birmingham.
  • Optimal is supported by a small team whose employees have been formally consulted on this news.

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