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Three-quarters of policyholders failing to read wake-up packs

Nearly three-quarters of people are not fully reading providers’ wake-up packs in the run-up to their retirement.

The Association of British Insurers recently questioned 1,606 people who had been sent a retirement pack within 4-16 weeks and found that only 26 per cent had read the wake-up pack in full.

Sixteen per cent of respondents had not read the pack at all while 21 per cent glanced at it. Of those that had at least glanced at the pack, 30 per cent could not recall any of the contents or messages in it.

According to the ABI, 71 per cent of participants who read the pack said it gave them a better understanding of their options at retirement and awareness of the right to shop around increased from 62 per cent to 82 per cent after reading it.

But Just Retirement’s Nigel Barlow says the research gives a “false impression”.

He says: “You start off with 1,606 interviewees but in effect you filter the next stage of the interview by saying do you remember receiving the pack or reading the pack, which filters out something like 1,100 people.

“The purpose of the wake up pack is to wake people up and ensure the vast majority of people read it and not just 500. The fact almost 75 per cent of people did not read the pack is a disgrace.

“If you look at people who have been prompted to read this letter then yes it looks like things are going quite well but actually most people do not read the pack when it comes through the letter box and if they do they do not remember it.”

ABI retirement policy advisers Ben Stafford says “This research gives an entirely valid picture of customers’ views of their wake-up pack. We deliberately sought feedback from people who had read the pack and those who hadn’t at all or hadn’t yet done so, to get different views from different customers. The resulting feedback provides an unprecedented level of detail from which we can build on the improvements already made to wake-up packs.

“A majority, 51 per cent, of those who had not read the pack had not done so because they had not had time, or planned to read it at a later date. Others, 13 per cent, had not read the pack because they intended to refer the decision to their financial adviser. We will be looking at the feedback and focusing on making the packs even simpler and easier to engage with.”

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