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Cross lines

Having just wasted at least seven minutes on hold (at peak time) waiting to be put through to talk to anyone at all at Liverpool Vic in Exeter (what if I wanted them to quote on a £500,000 term insurance?), I have given up in disgust. Correspondence routinely goes unanswered, as do subsequent reminders.

A simple mortgage protection term insurance we submitted to Scottish Provident in early November took until the end of February for terms to be issued (and then twice). By this time, the client has passed a birthday, decided to place her business elsewhere and we had already written to complain formally.

Evidently, Scottish Provident are in such a mess that they cannot even respond to formal complaints or put the brake on the oh so slowly grinding wheels of their new business process.

Phoning Prudential for anything is a frustrating business as well. No matter what number you call, it seems to be the wrong one for the service you actually require. Furthermore, there appear to be no facilities for transferring you to the extension for the department you do need. Call this number instead, goodbye.

Sun Life&#39s telephone system is a wondrous thing of constant evolution. No sooner have you finally started getting used to which number to phone for which service or person, than everything is changed again and all the numbers you thought you knew now come up dead.

Norwich Union&#39s IFA website must be the slowest and most cumbersome in Christendom. I dread using it because it takes about three times as long to do anything as it would via the CTP.

I could go on but you get the picture. Is this industry on its knees or what?

Julian Stevens Partner, WDS Independent Financial Advisers, Kingswood, Bristol

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