\r\n\r\nInternational funeral planning and concierge service firm, Everest, has officially debuted in the UK through a new strategic partnership with MetLife.\r\n\r\nAs part of this initial three-year exclusive arrangement, MetLife will offer funeral support services to over 1.4 million UK employees, via its Group Life insurance arrangements.\r\n\r\nEverest\u2019s UK business will be led by chairman Mark Wood. He has \u201csignificant\u201d expertise in the UK insurance markets, having previously held senior roles including CEO of AXA UK, CEO of Prudential Europe, and founder of pension buyout firm Paternoster. He is also currently chair of Pensions Bee.\r\n\r\nUnder the agreement, MetLife\u2019s Group Life customers will be able to access end-of-life planning services and support to help their families in the event of their death. This includes 24\/7 adviser support and assistance, along with a suite of online planning tools.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, customers will be able to use a digital vault to ensure individuals can leave their important documents easily accessible for those bereaved, as well as a free will writing service.\r\n\r\nThe partnership marks Everest\u2019s first venture outside of North America, where it has a customer base of over 25 million and has operated since 2001.\r\n\r\nMark Wood, Everest chairman, said: \u201cWe are bringing Everest to the UK in partnership with MetLife, a truly innovative and passionate insurer. This is a unique offering providing families with significant additional support during an incredibly challenging time.\u201d\r\n\r\nDominic Grinstead, MetLife managing director, added: \u201cToday\u2019s announcement represents a key part of MetLife\u2019s UK growth ambitions, as we continue to enhance our group life proposition. Against a challenging economic backdrop, there has never been a greater need for protection and valuable insurance and support for UK households.\r\n\r\n\u201cAll too often insurance focuses on the claim payment but, through our partnership with Everest, we are pleased to be able to offer all our group life customers access to a range of support services extending beyond that financial transaction.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe product supports policyholders in setting financial and other plans through Everest's planning tools, with assistance from Everest\u2019s advisors. In the event of the employee dying, Everest then assists the beneficiaries with funeral arrangements and service from any funeral provider worldwide, and 24\/7 access to expert advisors.