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Santander bank advice concerns halt Aviva protection sales

Santander UK has been forced to stop selling and advising on Aviva protection policies in-branch due to concerns over advisers’ lack of product knowledge.

In its interim results, published last week, Aviva announced extensions to its distribution deals with Santander and Barclays.

In August 2010, Aviva signed an exclusive five-year deal with Santander for the distribution of Aviva’s life insurance, critical illness and income protection products through Santander’s UK branches, online and via the telephone.

The agreement came into effect in June but Santander staff are no longer advising on the Aviva protection products and are undergoing a re-training programme.

When a Money Marketing journalist went into Santander’s Oxford Street branch this week and requested information on Aviva’s income protection, life insurance and critical illness policies, she was told that in-branch staff have not been able to provide advice on the products since Thursday last week.

A Santander spokesman says: “Following an initial run of sales over the past week or so, we are providing additional training and this is in keeping with our ongoing training programme for all staff.

“While this additional training is carried out, the products are off sale in-branch, although it is hard to say when this will be completed given the disruption caused by the riots. In the meantime the products are available to customers by phone.”

An Aviva spokeswoman says: “This is a sales issue for Santander and we understand that they want to get the service right for customers.”


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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. And we are surprised at this?

  2. How embarrassing for Santander. If they cannot get something simple, like protection, correct then its no wonder they have so many mis-sales in the more complicated areas as well.

    Why do people continue to go to banks to get sujch poor advice?

  3. Seems to me that Santander have demonstrated an effective T&C regime. Identification of weakness, targeted training and placing the customer’s interests high on their agenda. Has there been any complaints? The products are relatively straightforward and the ‘advice’ is probably straightforward, too.

  4. Because its seen as cheap.

    Pay £200+ up front fees for an adviser or pay £2/3 extra per month (or incorrect/invalid cover) to a bank…

    Its like going to a Spar rather than M&S.

  5. So how will they be handing the risk that those customers who’ve already been sold Aviva policies have actually been mis-sold? Will Aviva be offering a full refund & compensation?

    This is just the sort of thing you get when insurers like Aviva leap into bed with banks without ensuring that customers interest are going to be properly taken care of.

  6. They should have stayed with Royal London products

  7. Have the bean counters won a little battle ?

    Appears quality training is cheaper than mis-selling fines & losing (more) customer trust.

  8. Yes, EVERYBODY EXCEPT THE FSA know how poor bank advisers are.

    Yesterday they were banging on about IFAs depending too much one one platform!!.

    You couldn’t make it up….

  9. Whilst the product benefits may be simple, I have seen first hand the mess a bank made of setting up some trusts around a lifecover policy which was referred to me by a Solicitor friend.

    If trust advice and/or the implications of IHT need to be explained then what many may see as a ‘simple product’ can be anything but. Good on Santander for addressing a knowledge issue but I fear even this area of advice should be left to those who ‘only do advice’ rather than the homogenised banks.

  10. All the riots have instigated news on the media about how many business have been destroyed due to acts outside the law and so on and yet I would think RDR and the FSA will destroy more and are they accountable to British Law too?

  11. this is no shock! anytime i’ve had the misfortune to be in a santander branch i get the impression the staff couldn’t identify a protection need if it hit them in the face.

  12. One is, banks are not greared to advise on the simple products, Other is, are the insurers keeping the products simple? Specially with RDR coming into effect and Direct to Consumer will be a big way forward, there is much more required from Insurers on the simplification of the products in the interest of the consumers and in their interest as well.

  13. At least Santander are doing something about it.

    Are others though?

  14. Surprise Surprise……Why didn’t this make the national press ? Riots, of course a good day to bury bad news !

  15. 10th August 2011 at 10:36 pm

    The key point is the products were withdrawn from sale within a couple of weeks based on case sampling by the advice quality department. The banks proactive stance should be commended not derided.

    Having worked for a number of retail banks the approach taken by Santander is refreshing. Afterall for how long did LTSB know that miss selling of PPI was rife and turn a blind eye to it, years is the answer based on my experience as an employee. Surely the bank has taken the right approach in this instance???

  16. Who said protection sales were simple?

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