The UK Financial Services Authority has published an insurance sector briefing on thematic work which suggests that some advisers are not providing sufficient ongoing advice for with-profits policyholders.
The document also indicates that after-sales communication documents for these and other life sector policyholders are of variable quality. As a result, the findings suggest that some companies’ product providers and advisers are not currently treating customers fairly.
Sarah Wilson, FSA director and insurance sector leader, said: These findings are significant. Without ongoing advice, consumers might not be able to make properly informed decisions about their with-profits policy. They also might not understand the potential need to take action to meet any gap between their past and current expectations of investment returns. And poor after-sales information for these and other policy types makes it harder for consumers to understand the performance of their policies and the product features they have paid for.
Senior management in both insurers and advisory firms need to re-examine their existing approach and, where necessary, implement changes. Advisers need to provide advice where they have created an expectation that they will do so. Insurers need to ensure that post-sale communication is clear, fair and not misleading.
The investigation found that many with-profits policyholders no longer have access to the adviser who sold the policy. For those that do still have an adviser, the FSA stated that many were reluctant to advise on existing with-profits policies.
The regulatory body expects the senior management of firms to review their current approach.