Aegon UK launches Whole of Life protection policy

UK, October 20, 2014

Aegon UK has launched a new Whole of Life protection policy designed to provide money to help cover an inheritance tax (IHT) bill payable on a customer's estate when they die.

Aegon UK recently asked customers aged over 40 from the Aegon Customer Panel what they knew about IHT and what measures they had in place to mitigate the IHT liability of their estate.

Inheritance Tax Awareness

Of those who responded, the majority (87.5%) were aware that the government could take 40% of inheritance on death. However, only 29% of those surveyed had taken measures to mitigate their IHT liability. Of this 29% who had taken appropriate measures, most (40%) had sought assistance through a financial adviser with a further 31% seeking assistance from a solicitor.

Of the 71% who hadn't taken measures to mitigate their IHT liability, the reasons given included:

  • Lack of an adviser
  • The cost of seeking advice is too expensive
  • IHT is too complicated
  • No awareness of IHT
  • Not got around to it

Overall 90% were interested to hear about a way to potentially protect the value of the estate so they could pass on more to family or loved ones.

Flexible Inheritance Tax Planning Solution

To complement these findings, Aegon has built an innovative and flexible IHT planning solution, in the form of a whole of life protection policy that can be placed in a discretionary trust, to enable customers to protect and pass their wealth on to the next generation. Central to this new policy was the need to address the low take-up rate of trusts and the lack of awareness around IHT planning.

Aegon is now the only provider to offer an integrated trust process to place a whole of life policy in trust at application. This limits the chance of delay or forgetting to do this once the policy is set up, which can be a contributing factor to the lack of people placing policies in trust. This integrated process also reduces room for errors as it's all done at the one stage.

In addition to this Aegon is also the only company offering free cover in trust which means that if a customer is eligible for free cover and their adviser uses Aegon's integrated trust process, their free cover will also be placed in trust. So if they were to die while Aegon was processing the application, any free cover wouldn't add to the IHT bill.

Key features of the Aegon Whole of Life policy

  • Built in flexible options – a range of guaranteed insurability options and a gift inter vivos conversion option. Gift inter vivos is cover that reduces over a seven year period in line with current IHT legislation so that the insurance matches the IHT liability during the seven years from when the amount was gifted.
  • Joint life separation option – this means that if a policyholder was to divorce or dissolve a civil partnership, they could split the joint-policy into two single-life policies.

Dougy Grant, Protection Director at Aegon UK, said:
"Inheritance tax can cost those left behind thousands of pounds worth of additional heartache, yet there are ways to make provisions for this – such as writing life policies in trust – which we estimate is being done in only 10% of cases. Our Whole of Life policy is one way to address this. It helps to reduce the amount of tax that would have to be paid from the estate, so more can be passed on to the beneficiaries.

Robust product development process

"There is £530 million paid unnecessarily each year in IHT and we want to help our customers to change that statistic. In addition to this our own research found that most customers are looking for simple solutions to help them manage their IHT liability. With this in mind we've undergone a robust product development process to understand the needs of our customers and have designed the product to meet those needs.

"Our track record of underwriting expertise when it comes to higher sums assured or older lives makes a whole of life product a perfect fit for us to complement the rest of our protection product portfolio as well as Aegon's broader range of advised at retirement and wealth solutions. This development re-affirms the role protection has to play in helping us get the UK get ready for retirement and beyond."

Written by: Aegon