21 Jan, 2008
Nicole Blackmore -
Pension providers must improve their levels
of service to annuities customers and focus on speeding up fund
transfer times, says the Prudential Retirement Income Panel.
The panel of retirement and pensions savings experts say providers
also need to look at how they explain annuity options to consumers
who are approaching retirement.
Association of British Insurers assistant director Helen White
says: "Service standards are voluntary. We cannot force companies
to adhere to these standards. If we don't make significant changes
voluntarily, the Government will in a few years impose changes."? ?
The Panel also found that there is a specific need to encourage
consumers to learn how annuities work, and understand all of their
Prudential Retail Life & Pensions managing director Gary
Shaughnessy says there is false expectation surrounding how long
people expect they'll live and a severe lack of understanding about
the impact that inflation will have on their retirement income.
He says: "People are making decisions today, thinking about their
current situation without considering what it might be in 10 or 15
years time. This issue needs to be addressed or we'll find
pensioners living longer on ever reducing incomes."