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‘Supermart headline rates do not match risk profiles’

Specialist intermediary Terrablu is accusing supermarkets of offering headline rates that do not match the risk profile of a typical supermarket customer.

The firm – an introducer business to IFAs Directly Financial and Griffiths McAlister – says if customers want to benefit from supermarkets’ headline-grabbing rates, they must be archetypal “ideal” consumers, being fit, healthy and devoid of risk.

Terrablu says supermarkets’ core customers are being falsely targeted, with the average shopper not fitting this overly “healthy” profile.

It says figures from the British Heart Foundation show that the average shopper is likely to suffer from either high chol- esterol, hypertension or obesity or smoke and drink in excess of recommended guidelines. Around 32 million Britons suffer from high cholesterol.

All consumers in these cat- egories would be exempt from the “shop-window” rates offered by supermarkets.

Annuity Direct director Stuart Bayliss says: “When it comes to combinations of protection products, particularly with regard to critical-illness cover and the growing importance of non-disclosure, it helps to have someone walk you through the process. The turgid application processes mean that consumers need the help of someone who understands the nuances of each provider and will help them through potentially long and drawn-out application periods.”

Scottish Provident head of life and health propositions Sue Wilkinson says: “It is great that there is a growing awareness that price alone is not a sufficient decision-maker. Rate charts are not always the best indicator of the most suitable product, not just for the direct channels but also for advised sales,.”

Aegon UK head of underwriting and claims Matt Rann says you cannot judge on price alone and the variations bet-ween providers further support the need for advice.

He says: “Often, rates are variable because there are three or four reinsurance manuals being used at the same time, which would warrant the need for advice.”

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Sunny for shares

In my next two articles, I intend to look at the future prospects for equities. My aim is to arrive at a justifiable projection of likely medium and long-term rates of return.

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