Partnership is one of the UK’s leading providers of impaired, enhanced and long-term care annuity products for retirees. It is an active campaigner in addressing society’s funding issues for retirement and long-term care.
Partnership is the longest established UK insurer specialising in financial products for people whose health and lifestyle result in reduced life expectancy. The company offers a range of enhanced annuity solutions for clients who smoke or have minor health impairments, through to serious conditions such as cancer. Partnership is also the largest provider of annuities for long-term care funding in the UK.
Partnership believes that more than 50% of people at retirement would qualify for an enhanced annuity on the basis of reduced life expectancy. Their latest analysis highlights that a typical 65-year old Partnership customer with a typical condition would receive on average 25% extra income from their pension.
Partnership has consistently championed the needs of those with even modestly reduced life expectancies. It has campaigned to raise awareness of the right to shop around for the best annuity rate with Government, politicians and opinion formers. And it has developed innovative ways to enable the 80% of people with pension funds under £40,000 to get affordable advice from financial advisers.
Campaigning on social care issues
Partnership has also campaigned for the inclusion of appropriate independent care fees advice within the Draft Care and Support Bill. This is critical for the 43% of people who are estimated to have to pay for all their social care costs. In 2009, it is estimated that only 7,000 of the 53,000 self-funders who went into residential care received appropriate care fees advice. Without appropriate financial advice, self-funders risk buying the wrong financial product to fund their care fees or paying without using any financial product. This may explain why it is estimated that up to 25% of self-funders have depleted their assets prematurely and fallen back on the state.
The company sponsored a report by the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group, with MPs and Peers from the main political parties. The report provided evidence based solutions for policy makers and key stakeholders to consider. Partnership has engaged with MPs, Peers, local authorities, civil servants, think tanks and charities to ensure that the problems faced by self funders are recognised and appreciated. Partnership has provided written and oral evidence to the Health Select Committee and Joint Scrutiny Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill and sponsored a range of key reports and seminars with leading think tanks.
Raising awareness on policy issues
Over the past 12 months, Partnership has actively engaged with policy makers, including think tanks, MPs, ministers and civil servants, and key stakeholders to ensure that the best interests of their customers are not overlooked as changes are made to legislation and regulation.
The introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) posed a number of challenges for consumers who may not necessarily see the benefits of paying upfront for financial advice. In particular there was concern that those with small pension pots, risked being priced out or excluded from the advice market. Partnership worked closely with the leading policy unit, International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK), publishing reports on the RDR’s likely impact on people with small pension pots launching them in both the House of Lords and within Westminster and holding a major Retirement Income Summit with industry experts, opinion formers, senior politicians, journalists and charities. These activities resulted in heightened awareness of the issue within Government and among all key stakeholders.
Providing sources of advice
The chronic lack of awareness for self funders led to the creation of PayingForCare, a not-for-profit subsidiary company of Partnership, which is currently engaged with 64 local authorities to enable them to extend and broaden their elderly care services to include meeting the financial needs of self funders. The website www.payingforcare.org enables the wider public to understand how the care system works for self funders and provides access to specialist care fees advice.
Continuing to lead the way
Millions of pensioners face an impoverished retirement. Partnership continues to champion the interests of retirees with reduced life expectancy and modest funds, engaging actively with key stakeholders from the industry, Government, Parliament and with consumer groups, charities and the media. Partnership will continue seeking to shape the policy environment within which it operates to address key problems faced by consumers and to promote practical solutions which provide consumer benefits.