A group of pension providers and reinsurers are considering launching an annuity underwriting bureau which would allow consumers to gain accurate medical information before they shop around for a retirement income product.
Industry trade body Origo has completed a feasibility study into developing a central body, called the Annuity Medical Bureau, which would collect health and lifestyle information from consumers.
People could use this information when they are shopping around for an annuity.
The idea has been developed by five providers, including Legal & General, and three reinsurers.
L&G head of annuity product development Tim Gosden (pictured) says: “There is a group of providers and reinsurers that has put together a feasibility study for a medical underwriting bureau. The study is complete and we now need to decide whether to go ahead with it or not.
“The objective of the bureau would be to give consumers the opportunity to give optimal medical and lifestyle information about themselves so when they start off their journey to shop around, they are armed with the best information.”
Gosden says the bureau would be complementary to industry efforts to increase the number of people who shop around at retirement.
He says: “Much of the infrastructure is there already so it would be straightforward to implement, although cost is always going to be a factor. The next stage is getting all of the providers on board because everybody needs to join in to make this work.”
Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “Annuities are moving towards being individually underwritten, so if that process can be centralised and includes all the big providers then it would be a good thing for consumers.”