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Sainsbury’s answers to our protection probe

Q: Are you confident that your customers are aware that buying direct means they do not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service and potential compensation if they take out the wrong sort of insurance?

A: If they need to, customers can still have access to the FOS. You can clarify this with the FOS.

Q: Do you have alternative processes in place to deal with customer complaints arising from them buying life insurance from you directly and, if so, what are they?

A: The bank has complaint procedures in place for all its products. These are developed in line with its individual business partners which in the case of life insurance, is Legal & General. We do make these details publicly available.

Q: Have you taken steps to ensure that customers switching their policy to one offered by your organisation because it is cheaper are aware that the cover may be less comprehensive and, if the old policy was an advised sale, that they will not have redress to the ombudsman on the new policy?

A: The first point to make here is that there is no evidence to suggest that by switching to the bank people will necessarily receive less cover. The bank’s life insurance product offers good cover. Those who buy their life insurance direct should know what sort of cover they need. If you buy direct you can still get redress from the ombudsman.

Q: Are you concerned that customers who fail to place policies in trust may get substantially less money as a result of inheritance tax?

A: Again, before buying life insurance direct, people should know what sort of cover they need and the implications of buying direct. The issue about the need to seek advice on inheritance tax appears in Sainsbury’s Bank’s key features document.

Q: Have you done any research to show that customers have researched the different options and are making an informed choice when buying direct?

A: We have not done this research. Before buying direct, people should have an understanding of what sort of cover they want
Q: Have you any plans to publish statistics showing insurance claims paid out and not paid out to customers?

A: The bank does not publish this sort of data for any of its products.

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