Norwich Union has become the latest equity release scheme provider to become a member of Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP), the body set up to promote safe schemes and protect policyholders.
NU, which launched its Flexible Cash Release Plan in November last year to replace its Capital Access scheme, joins Allchurches Life, BPT Bridgewater, Carlyle Life, GE Life, Home & Capital Trust and newcomer NPI on the SHIP members’ panel.
Members are bound under a code of practice that ensures all aspects of the schemes and their costs are clearly spelt out to the policyholder at outset.
Daren Carter, business development manager at NU, said: “Our membership with SHIP is significant in that it recognises the fact that the plan was not only designed to provide maximum flexibility, but complete peace of mind.”
Andrew Stronach, spokesman for Norwich Union added: “We have been speaking to SHIP since the launch of Capital Access, but it has taken this long to go through all the formalities.”
As yet there are no plans to provide a link between Flexible Cash and NU’s range of long term care plans.
“We have no specific plans to link this product to our long term care products, although there is a natural link there,” said Stronach.
“The money you release you can do what you like with – you can put it into any kind of investment including bonds or long term care insurance.”
Flexible Cash allows elderly homeowners to access up to 45% of the capital in their home. It has an interest rate fixed at 7.85% compound on the value of the amount released.
It also includes a facility to arrange further loans up to this level and borrowers are safeguarded against negative equity.