Pru under fire as delays hit quotes
Prudential has admitted it is failing to keep up with the volume of inquiries regarding enhanced annuities following a complaint by an IFA.
Peter Davies, director of Cardiff-based Create Wealth, said he submitted an online application to Prudential for an enhanced annuity on behalf of a client on 1 May and was shocked by the reply.
He said: “We received an automated email reply from Prudential thanking us for our request but stating that it was currently experiencing a high volume of requests. My colleague rang Prudential and was advised that it would take 24 working days to receive the quotation.
“Under the new definition of independence, the FSA requires firms who will continue to provide independent advice to consider the whole of the market. This is what we are doing. However it is disappointing that we will have to wait nearly five weeks before we can assess all the provider’s annuities because of Prudential’s unacceptable and unrealistic delays.”
He said half of the companies that were sent emails replied in less than 24 hours.
A Prudential spokesman admitted in a statement that a turnaround time of 24 hours was, in some cases, not being met.
The statement said: “Recent requests for illustrations are up by around 40 per cent, compared to six months ago. We are making steady progress to address this by seconding and recruiting new members to the team, in addition to working overtime and at weekends
“Due to a recent, significant rise in the volume of requests, and the detailed nature of the work we carry out, in some cases this turnaround is not being met. We are sorry for any inconvenience this situation causes.
“We have committed to significantly improving this aspect of our service and the plans are in place to make this happen.”
Mr Davies added: “Prudential’s 24-working day wait would have a direct impact on our client if we wait for their quotation. Quite simply the client will lose a month’s pension payment. Prudential is in effect ruling itself out of contention as our client wants to complete his annuity promptly.
“With such delays I sincerely wonder how long it would take Prudential to process an annuity application if we placed the annuity.”
Recent analysis by the Pensions Policy Institute found that shopping around and purchasing an enhanced annuity could increase income in retirement for people with health problems by an average of 19 per cent.