Article date: 16 August 2004
Norwich Union, the UK’s largest life insurer, hasconfirmed that it intends to introduce time barring on mortgageendowment complaints, under FSA rules, by the end of 2005.
The company has started writing to its 1.1 million endowmentpolicy holders, as part of an ongoing review mailing, stating thatit intends to introduce time bars on mortgage endowment complaintsin the future. Customers will be given at least 12 monthsindividual notice before a time bar becomes applicable –double the six months notice required by the FSA.
Norwich Union believes that applying a time bar is fairer to allits with-profits policyholders than having an open ended complaintssystem where people could in effect complain about a policy soldten years ago, up to fifteen years into the future. Thecomplaints’ process exists to compensate for the genuinemis-sale of a policy and not to compensate for adverse investmentperformance during a policy’s lifetime.
Norwich Union chief actuary, Mike Urmston, said: "We believethat a time bar is the fairest approach to take in relation tomortgage endowment complaints. An open ended complaints systemwhere people could complain up to 15 years into the future about apolicy sold 10 years ago is simply unfair to other with-profitspolicy holders and could lead to compensation for the wrongreasons.
"Norwich Union has committed to writing to its mortgageendowment policyholders at least 12 months in advance of timebarring applying to their policy – double the six monthsnotice required by the FSA. The company will ensure that thecommunication to policyholders is clear and explicit with aspecific date by which customers have to lodge a complaint if theyare making one. The company expects the first letters to affectedpolicyholders confirming specific time bar dates, applicable in2005, to be issued during October/November 2004.
Mike Urmston, added: "We will ensure we are open and transparentin our communications with customers to ensure they are aware ofexactly what the situation is on their policy. We will of courselook sympathetically at individual circumstances on complaintswhich just fall foul of the time bar period where this has happenedthrough no fault of the customer."
Press office contacts:
James Evans 01904 452791 Outof hours 07790 487105
Louise Soulsby 01904 452617 Out of hours 07810 057362
Notes to editors:
- Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. It is aleading provider of life, pensions and investment products and oneof the leading IFA providers. IFAs provide around 75% of thecompany’s long-term savings business
- Norwich Union has strategic alliances with building societiesand other leading UK brand names including Tesco Personal Financeand The Royal Bank of Scotland group
- Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of imagesare available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.