Insurer Equitable Life is writing to 70,000 UK policy holders who opted out of the state second pension to tell them they are being enrolled back in, according to This Is Money.

The mutual has followed other insurers in advising people that they would be better off with the topped-up pension scheme. The state second pension is an addition to the basic state pension to give something extra to low paid workers without a company pension provision. The right to opt out was introduced in 1988 to give people the chance to invest the money in a private pension instead.

But insurers – and the Financial Services Authority – believe that many people will be worse off opting out of the scheme. Prudential is also writing to customers advising them to contract back in.

Some are calling for the opt out right to be scrapped. Ros Altmann, a pensions expert and a governor at the London School of Economics, said of the opt-out: It is not good value, no one understands it and it is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.