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Insurers warn Osborne over Budget guidance capacity crunch

ABI warns Budget guidance guarantee faces the risk of an “ObamaCare”-style collapse

Insurers have warned Chancellor George Osborne his Budget guidance guarantee could face “ObamaCare”-style capacity issues if demand for the service is high in April next year.

Speaking during a debate at the Association of British Insurers’ headquarters in London this week, ABI director of policy Huw Evans said the trade body favours guidance being provided by non-profit organisations such as the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service. But he said the door should be left open to providers offering guidance in the future.

On the issue of capacity, Evans warned policymakers promoting the reforms could see the system struggle to cope with demand in a similar way to US president Barack Obama’s radical healthcare reforms.

He said: “The guidance guarantee should be primarily driven by provider promotion in our view. This is the practical option for April 2015 as the providers are in the best place to know the individual customer circumstances and be able to adapt their existing pre-retirement communications.

“If you run a big Government advertising campaign in the run-up to April 2015, you run the risk of an “Obama-Care” day-one rush that increases your system risk and in some cases appeals to the wrong people anyway.

“If this is going to work on day one, it has to be aligned to the existing customer journey.”

Just Retirement group external affairs director Steve Lowe says: “The Government needs to pilot this service in October with organisations like TPAS in order to bring forward the demand bulge.”

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