March 20, 2014

Acting on advice from Tory spinmeisters after new research revealed that the reading age of the average voter is not, as previously supposed by newspaper editors and the like, nine, but is, in fact, six and three quarters, George Osborne spelled out carefully earlier this week that his freshly unveiled budget was one for “the makers, the doers and the savers.”

If you think that sounds like everyone (perhaps on the naive assumption that pretty much everyone does something from time to time – even if they don’t get round to saving anything or making much, other than a pitiful mess of their own and other people’s lives), then think again.

This was very much not a budget for all those simple trusting insurers who might reasonably have expected something back from the baby-faced chancellor in return for going to such lengths, premium-reductions wise, to enable HMG to realise its goal of returning motor insurance to affordability in the wake of the LESBO reforms.

Not a bit of it!

Ungrateful George has only gone and decimated big insurers’ share prices by deciding that in future we will all be able to raid our pensions with impunity – entirely free of any obligation or encouragement to purchase an annuity, a word we’ll come across in future only when playing Monopoly.

Of course we all knew the whole annuity thing was too good to last, “bad-value” annuities were an obvious target for officious new regulator the FCA with its eccentric obsession with securing good outcomes for consumers. But, surely Gideon could have shown a little more loyalty – after everything firms like Uvavu have done for him? Sadly, not.

Insurers have been busily adjusting their brave faces for the public gaze. Otto Son of Thor, head man of ABI, speaking to the FT, insisted implausibly that “The guaranteed lifetime income provided by an annuity can play an important part in discussions with customers considering their options” while analyst Malcolm Cur offered a shred of hope with the words “It is not necessarily Armageddon for annuities.”

Exactly how helpful insurers will be next time governments come begging favours, however, remains to be seen.

Honestly, after all that undignified bending over backwards to cut the cost of motor insurance…

judas-betrays-jesus


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