Research by Cable&Wireless Worldwide has found that 90% of consumers express some dissatisfaction with the methods of communications from UK financial services providers.
Almost half would like more comprehensive websites which include video explanations and calculators, and17% of those asked wanted an instant message service whilst using the site. With younger consumers looking for more interactivity from providers, insurance providers need to respond to accommodate these needs or risk alienating future customers.
Nicola Dicks, director, General Insurance, Life & Pensions at Cable & Wireless Worldwide comments “Running multiple communication channels is simply not good enough if the customer experience is poor and disjointed, that’s why it’s vital for insurance providers to improve existing communication channels before rushing to invest in new ones. To engage with and retain their customers, insurers should be providing the right information and advice at first point of contact, whatever method that is.”
“Whilst at the moment technology leadership is strongest amongst younger customers, communications requirements will continue to shift as generations move through different life stages. Insurers therefore need to make sure they get their communication channels right–or they could find themselves restricted to a diminishing segment. Improving communications infrastructure will have a fundamental role to play in delivering the transformation required.”
After the recent introduction of auto enrolment a system which could see up to 11 million workers automatically enrolled into a workplace pension, Jane Curtis President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries comments on the ‘positive step’ to encourage people to save for their retirement
“Auto-enrolment is a positive step forward in the battle to encourage individuals to save for their retirement. However by effectively helping individuals to save without realising it there is the danger that they may sleepwalk into retirement without enough money in their pension pot to fund the lifestyles that they want to maintain when they leave work.
“To illustrate this; the minimum contribution for NEST will be 8% per year by 2018. For an individual earning £20,000 a year and assuming a 5% employee and 3% employer contribution for 20 years the NEST calculator assumes that the pension pot will be worth £47,000 in today’s money, which equates to a tax free lump sum on retirement of £11,700 and an annual income for the rest of life of £1,600. Adding this to the present basic state pension of just under £6,000 a year and someone earning £20,000 a year would experience a significant 65% drop in annual income.
“Of course there are many factors that will affect the value of an individual’s pension pot over time, but what these figures illustrate is that it is as important for each individual to be engaged in saving for their future as it is to automatically enrol them into doing so. This is a communication and education challenge for both the Government and employers and one where the expertise of the architects of pension products, such as actuaries, will have a key role to play.”
45% of the working population have never reviewed their pension plans and 41% were unsure if they had selected the ‘default’ option.
The survey by Baring Asset Management, also found that more people were likely to choose friends and family for pensions advice than in previous years. 23% named this as their most likely source of advice, compared with 15% in 2011. However, 34% selected professional advice from financial advisers or accountants as their preferred option.
Marino Valensise, Barings’ chief investment officer said: “Millions of people may be exposed to poor asset allocation and inappropriate levels of risk due to a refusal to review their pension investments regularly and with the correct levels of advice. This is more important than ever given the current volatile economic environment.”
The rating outlook for the UK life assurance sector remains stable, according to a new report by statistical rating organisation Fitch.
Fitch’s latest outlook assumes a weak economic recovery, with modest GDP growth. It is yet to account for shocks to the economy, but can be updated if unexpected events were to occur.
Fitch’s insurance team senior director David Prowse said: “In contrast to several European insurers, most UK life insurers have negligible direct exposure to the sovereign debt of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain – typically less than 5% of shareholders’ equity.”
The 2012 Workplace Pensions Report has revealed that 52% of all employees have no knowledge of the new auto enrolment legislation which will affect 19 million workers.
The new reform will be implemented in October 2012 and will then be rolled out over the next five years in order to raise awareness. The Department for Work and Pension will be putting out a national campaign later this month. The new legislation will see all qualifying workers enrolled in a workplace pension saving scheme – unless they opt-out.
The report found that 74% of respondents believed that their employer should provide information about retirement planning. Scottish Widows said the services of an expert adviser “would help increase education and understanding of savings, and help employees plan better for their retirement.”
50 business leaders, academics and MSPs met at the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the opening of the new Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) earlier this month.
Mark McDonald, MSP welcomed the audience and outlined some of the areas where the profession has already been interacting with politicians. He also said that they would welcome any input from the profession, which aligned to their public affairs objective.
The centre is set up in the same month that marks 250 years since the birth of actuarial work in life offices. The first Director of the ARC, Professor Andrew Cairns spoke of his vision for the centre, collaborating with business, developing academic disciplines and researchers that will be an asset to industry.
A lecture on the implications on climate change faced by financial institutions will take place at Staple Inn Hall this month. Starting at 3.30pm on Tuesday 3rd July the event will finish at 6.30pm with a chance for guests to ask questions to speaker Professor Sir Brian Hoskins.
Climate change due to human activities is a challenge to scientists, engineers, industry, the financial sector, policy makers and society in general. A discussion will be given of the approach by the UK Climate Change Committee and the implications of the acceptance of that advice.
Sir Brian Hoskins is Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College and Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading. He is currently on the Board of the Met Office and chairs its Scientific Advisory Committee, and he is a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change.
For more information please contact Staple Inn Hall on 020 7632 1498 or email email@example.com
A free talk for actuarials on the methods used when forecasting interest rates will take place at Staple Inn, London on Tuesday 17 July 2012 at 18:00. The talk will help to broaden understanding on the following topics by,
· providing an overview of the methods available and their possible uses.
· Highlight the importance of the many assumptions and choices to be made by the modeller
· Discuss how a business’s assets and liabilities should be considered when constructing an interest rate model
· Place such issues in the context of a Solvency II internal model, touching on issues relating to curve fitting and tail behaviour.
Guests are invited to turn up on the night and are invited to enjoy a free drink at buffet at a nearby pub after the talk. Please contact 0207 632 1498 for more information.
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Women retiring this year are expecting their annual retirement income to be a third lower then their male counterparts.
Research by Prudential found that the average woman retiring this year expects an annual income of £12,250 in retirement, including private, company and state pension, compared to an average expected income of £18,000 for men.
A gender gap of £5,750, last year’s figure was £6,500 meaning that the gap in expected incomes has narrowed steadily since Prudential first measured a gap of £6,642 in 2009. Prudential said the narrowing of the gap could mainly be attributed to a reduction in men’s expected incomes. For this year’s retirees as a whole, the average amount people expect to retire on fell to a five-year low of £15,500, compared to £16,600 in 2011.
Vince Smith-Hughes, Prudential’s retirement income expert, said: ‘The pension gender gap appears to be narrowing but there is still a long way to go. Not only does the gap remain stubbornly wide, but anticipated retirement incomes have this year hit a five year low for both men and women.’
‘The practical steps that women can take to improve their retirement income prospects include maintaining pension contributions during career breaks and, if possible, making voluntary National Insurance contributions after returning to work.’
The survey also found that 49% of women believe they will not have enough for a comfortable retirement, compared to 40% of men.
Whether it’s for an atuarial job interview or a promotional oppertunity, you already know how important first impressions are. But do you know how to maximise your chances of making that first impression a good one? Image and impact is critical as people subconsciously associate your visual impact with your abilities and values. This workshop session at Momentum conference 2011 was extremely popular and so we have decided to run it as a masterclass.
- Enhance your professional image
- Manage the perceptions others have of you
- Personify your values through your non-verbal communication
- Dress to impress
For more details and to book a place visit:
Posted in Actuarial Qualifications, Actuarial Societies, Conferences, Events, Networking, news, UK
Tagged actuarial, actuarial profession, Actuaries, Actuary, careers fair, The Actuarial Profession