Friends Life has launched its enhanced annuity product on the open market as pressure mounts on the pensions industry to boost shopping around at retirement.
The Friends Lifestyle annuity uses a series of questions about a customer’s smoking history, alcohol consumption, occupation and family medical history to determine whether they could qualify for a higher annual income payment in retirement.
Advisers are able to obtain enhanced annuity quotes from Friends Life through Iress’ Exhange portal, Tomas and iPipeline’s Assureweb. Capita Financial Software’s Webline portal will also display quotations from the provider’s Lifestyle annuity by the end of January.
Friends Life retirement income managing director David Still says: “Our proprietary underwriting engine uses a range of criteria that go far beyond those typically covered. These range from where you live, to how you live. No single factor is considered alone. It cross references measures such as smoking status, body mass and occupation to develop a tailored annuity for individual customers.
“This is part of a trend towards making underwritten annuities available to more people to ensure they get as much retirement income as possible.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of financial planning Danny Cox says: “This should be excellent news for savers because more competition should lead to better annuity deals.”