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Cowman makes call for standard forms

Just Retirement protection manager Paul Cowman believes life offices should standardise their application forms to make it easier for advisers and clients to avoid non-disclosure.

He said the mortgage and pension markets have produced common forms for products such as equity release and annuities, which have been a success.

Cowman said: “It would make it easier for the IFA and also for the client. A standardised set of questions would help to eliminate non-disclosure. Currently every insurer has a different form which makes things overly complicated.”

But Direct Life & Pensions sales and marketing director Richard Verdin questioned whether product providers would be reluctant to adopt a standardised application.

He said: “I do not think that standardising is the right thing to do and even if it was, providers would not do it. Insurers need to differentiate themselves somehow and if they standardise forms the only difference is the provider’s logo in the corner.”

But Cowman said: “There are no advantages to every provider having a different form. It is very rare that application forms for the same product ask for different information.”

He said many providers have invested millions of pounds in unique back-office system which complement their application forms but said insurers need to “help themselves” by doing what it takes to eradicate non-disclosure.


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