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Time for IFAs to stand up against arrogant life firms

I am writing in response to the article headlined, Long delays as NU struggles with overload (Money Marketing, May 2) and agree wholeheartedly with the comments.

I have been long-suffering in my dealings with Norwich Union and have repeatedly had to complain with regard to the timescales they are working to, which involves many phone calls to chase them at every stage of processing.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be restricted to just Norwich Union, since I am currently having extreme difficulties with many of the other life companies, most notably Legal & General.

A case in point happened recently, in which a four-week delay occurred between Legal & General receiving the relevant application information and the decision made by them to request medical information on my client.

This medical has still yet to be carried out, causing an even longer delay, and the client has not even been contacted as of this time. This is made more urgent by the fact that the policy in question is to cover a mortgage which cannot complete until the life cover is in place, leaving my client in a very precarious position.

This situation was exacerbated rather than alleviated when Legal & General responded to my letter of complaint. They failed to address any of my concerns, offered no apologies to the situation or form of redress to my client and, to add insult to injury, neglected to address the letter to me personally. The only excuse they would offer was that they had a backlog of work, which caused the delay.

This case is still out-standing and my client is obviously distressed at the length of time this has taken and is a prime example of the arrogant attitude being displayed by life companies towards IFAs.

It is unacceptable that life companies think they can treat IFAs in this way since over the years I have generated a large amount of business for them.

Unless the majority of those suffering at the moment take action, life companies will feel that they can get away with treating clients in this manner, leading to a downturn in productivity and ultimately harming themselves in the long run.

However, other than mass boycotting the worst offenders, I can see no other way forward to improve this situation and hope that pressure can be brought to bear upon life companies to review their procedures and priorities.

It is time to show them that IFAs are not just a voice in the wind but are able to come together in big numbers to bring about changes in the way that the life companies operate.

Unless changes are made, less and less work will be passed to the prime culprits and, as stated in your article,I no longer feel confident in recommending many life companies to my clients and will certainly not do so until they have got their act together.

Stephen Snell

Director,

DPK Financial Services,

Southgate,

London N14

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