Annuity trends point to more 'clued-up' customers

Article date: 6 May 2008

Norwich Union, the UK's largest insurer, has seen a massive increase in customers buying annuities direct indicating that people are starting to use the Open Market Option1 on their retirement fund.

Over the last year, the number of customers buying annuities direct2 from Norwich Union advisers has risen almost 40% and enhanced annuity sales have also risen dramatically. Customers bought almost as many enhanced annuities in the first quarter of 2008 than they did in the whole of 2006 and 2007 combined.

Scott Brown, head of annuities at Norwich Union, said: "People who are coming up to retirement are getting more savvy about finding a good annuity and the trend we have seen for buying annuities direct underlines that people are starting to shop around for the best deal.

"As life expectancies continue to increase, it is vital that people make use of the Open Market Option on their pension fund and check all the options available to them to get the best deal and the right type of annuity to maximise value from their retirement income.

"In the last year, we have also seen a big increase in the number of people buying enhanced annuities, showing that people are increasingly aware of the different types of annuity and the value they offer. Taken together these indicators demonstrate that customers are really starting to switch onto the value of shopping around for annuities and that's just as it should be.

Norwich Union's three tips for anyone who is close to buying an annuity would be:

  • Take advice. It's arguably the most important purchase of your life. Don't be daunted by this, it really is as simple as either picking up a phone to chat to an annuity provider, or contacting an adviser.
  • Carefully consider all the types of annuity. There are many different types to match your personal needs.
  • Shop around. You could save a few pounds shopping around for new mobile phone contract, but getting the best value annuity could be worth thousands of pounds over the years".

-ends-

Notes to editors:

1 When a customer is ready to buy an annuity with their pension fund, it may be in their interests to shop around for annuity plan. There is no requirement for customers to buy an annuity from their pension provider and they may be able to purchase a better value annuity by shopping around.

2 Annuities are available direct from Norwich Union by calling 0800 046 6060 and you can speak to an adviser over the phone, or arrange to meet an adviser. We can advise only on our own products.

Press office contacts:
David Gwyer 07800 693187

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.

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