Norwich Union fined pounds 300,000 by Lautro

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NORWICH UNION extended its poor record with financial regulators yesterday when it was fined pounds 300,000 over the failings that last month led to its being forced to suspend 800 life insurance salesmen for retraining, writes Paul Durman.

The fine from Lautro, the life insurance regulator, matches the record set by Premium Life two days ago. Norwich Union, one of the UK's largest life insurers, is the first to be fined for a second time. It was also the first company to receive a Lautro intervention order, which forced one of its firms of tied agents out of business in 1990.

Lautro said the weaknesses in Norwich Union's training scheme and compliance procedures had put potential customers at risk. The life insurer had failed to organise and control its affairs in a responsible manner.

Norwich Union said it had paid compensation to about 20 investors so far and would make further payments where necessary. Philip Scott, general manager for life and pensions, said the cost ran to thousands rather than tens of thousands of pounds.

Norwich Union's salespeople began returning to work this week after four weeks' retraining.