Article date: 25 February 2008
- Downsizing sale management and purchase schemes to be trialled in UK
Norwich Union is working to broaden its retirement solutions range with a pilot which will offer customers hassle-free ways to release funds from their homes.
The company, already a market leader in the equity release sector, is investigating a second property-related proposition which will offer help to those who want to free up cash by downsizing.
Over-55s will have the choice of an "Assisted Move" package whereby Norwich Union will manage all aspects of their house sale for them. Or if the customer requires an immediate solution they can chose the "Optional Fund Release" service which would see the company arrange a speedy purchase for the customer on completely transparent and market-leading terms*.
In both cases, clients would also be offered bespoke financial advice, to help them achieve their financial goals in retirement, thus optimising the use of their released funds.
It is estimated that customers would be able to receive their funds in as little as 12 weeks through the Assisted Move option, or around four weeks via the Optional Fund Release route. On the open market, it currently takes around four to eight** months for people sell their house and around 900,000** UK homeowners fail to sell their properties each year.
Anthony Rafferty, head of marketing, post-retirement for Norwich Union says: "The so-called ‘pensions crisis' has meant there is a need to find alternative solutions for many people to fund their retirement. Traditionally, equity release has been seen as one such solution, particularly as many older people enjoy the comfort that comes with staying in their own home.
"However our research has shown that many other retirees would like to move to a home of lesser value, but are put off by the hassle that moving has traditionally entailed. The aim of this pilot is to make the sales process as stress-free as possible, offering a quick, straightforward way of freeing up cash and helping people to move to the type of home they now want.
"In conjunction with our existing pensions, investments and equity release ranges, these schemes will offer our customers an even wider portfolio of retirement solutions to meet their ever-changing needs."
The pilot is being targeted at the West Midlands area and will run for six months initially.
Press office contacts:
Sarah Horner 01904 452828 Out of hours 07800 691569
Notes to editors:
The home-move scheme is being piloted in the West Midlands area and will run for six months initially. Downsizing options will be offered in conjunction with leading property specialist movewithus. This will allow valuations to be based on selection of two of the best local selling agents and Norwich Union's own valuation team in conjunction with movewithus.
Clients may also recommend their own agents as part of the scheme.
* The house purchase scheme is carried out through a partnership with movewithus.
movewithus is responsible for financing the house purchase and the estate agency function of the scheme.
** Source for both statistics: theadvisory.co.uk
*** Estimated timings: 12 weeks through the Assisted Move option, or around four weeks via the Optional Fund Release route.
About Norwich Union:
Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.