Money Grouse: Annoyed at delay in paying annuity

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The Independent Online
RAYMOND and Kathleen Brown want to know why the Prudential kept them waiting six months to start drawing pensions from policies that matured at the end of last year.

'Were they hoping we would expire before they had to pay out?' asks Mr Brown.

The policies were started in December 1987, and the Browns each paid pounds 100 a month. Mrs Brown paid an extra pounds 5,000 lump sum.

The Pru did not start paying their annuities - worth pounds 132 a month for Mrs Brown and pounds 43 for Mr Brown - until May 1993.

The company is contrite and insists that it does not normally make its pensioners wait six months to start drawing an income from their savings.

Steve Bee, pensions manager at the Pru, said: 'I am very sorry this has happened. It is very unfortunate that a number of things happened that delayed the annuities.'

He said the Pru has a system that alerts managers to an impending pension maturity two months before the due date. At that point the company normally starts discussions with policyholders over the type of annuity they want. The aim is to ensure that the annuity can start to be paid in the month that the plan matures.

In the Browns' case, communications had broken down after this procedure was started.

To make up for the delay, Mr Bee said, the Pru had paid annuity rates that prevailed at the end of last year, which were better than the ones payable in April this year.

'We will build in safeguards to make sure this doesn't happen again,' he said.

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