The Association of British Insurers has reported that significant steps are being taken by insurers to encourage consumers to check whether they can get a better deal on the open market, and to improve the overall customer experience of buying an annuity.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the insurance industry is working hard to reduce the time it takes for annuity payments to begin.

Rebecca Driver, director of research and chief economist at ABI, said: Our research shows that many consumers get an annuity at a rate that is close to the highest rate available. In 2002, the FSA research found that almost 80% of joint life annuitants received a rate of between 85% and 95% of the highest rate available in the market. Ours shows that almost 80% of joint life annuities are sold at a rate above 95% of the highest rate.

Annuities provide security and peace of mind for millions of customers. The variety of annuity products available, and continuing innovation by providers, is good for consumers. Our goal is to ensure that they are better informed of the range of options they have and the key issues to consider when choosing an annuity.