UK: Norwich Union equity release regains number one position in the market

UK: Norwich Union equity release regains number one position in the market

Norwich Union, soon to be Aviva, has regained its position as the number one provider of equity release, following a series of product innovations and promotions during 2008.

The number one position in terms of revenue was confirmed when Norwich Union reported sales of £249 million, compared to £242 million for Prudential, the former frontrunner in the equity release market.

Milestones for Norwich Union in 2008 included launching the proposition in Northern Ireland in January and increasing the loan to value (LTV) scale for its lifetime mortgages in April 2008. In May 2008 the company decreased minimum cash payments for home reversion plans from £25,000 to £15,000 and increased the home reversion cash-to-release scale from 56% to 59%.

This was followed by a significant product enhancement launch in August 2008 which involved introducing a new suite of lifetime mortgages titled “Lifestyle”. A high-profile TV and online advertising campaign in the summer of 2008 also helped contribute to the company’s success.

Dominic Fraser-Smith, group product manager for Norwich Union, says: “Throughout the year we have consistently grown both our IFA and direct market share. According to SHIP figures the equity release market contracted by nine per cent in 2008, which makes the fact that we increased our business by 15%* in this market even more incredible.

“We have already seen a strong start to 2009, and we look forward to building on this achievement to benefit both our customers and advisers even further in the future.”

Norwich Union equity release has seen its market share increase between Q1 and Q4 in 2008 from 6.5% to 27% (IFA) and 36% to 47% (Direct). It has also received recognition with two industry awards: Moneyfacts Best Equity Release Provider and Your Mortgage Best Lifetime Mortgage Provider.

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