MICK and Linda Probert from Bracknell,
Berkshire are stuck with two badly-performing Abbey Life endowments.
Abbey Life closed to new business in 2000, and is run by
Scottish Widows, which in turn is part of Lloyds TSB. Personal
assistant Mrs Probert, 40, took out a 25-year, £50-a-month
endowment when she was single in 1989, and took out a further 23-year
endowment for £3,800 two years later costing £8 a
month. Growing at 4% a year, the 25-year plan has a £12,254
shortfall on its £30,000 target, and the 23-year plan has a
As it is a unit-linked endowment, they can't sell it.
The cash-in values are very poor, and they will forfeit a special 6%
bonus that is added to plans that manage to make it through to
maturity. If they stop paying in, the cost of the life insurance will
continue to be taken out of the value of the plan.
A Scottish Widows spokesman admits that this can
'exhaust' a fund - in other words, use up all the money in it.
Engineer Mr Probert, 49, says: 'There is the hope that
over the next 11 years the stock market will bounce back and the
policies will make money. But given Abbey Life's performance so far,
that seems unlikely. I think we should be able to get out without
We say 'at least' because some, including Friends
Provident, Lincoln Financial Group and Scottish Provident, refused to
Those that responded admitted to having more than 12
million policies made up of 6.8 million pensions, 4 million endowments
and 1.2 million bonds.
They include many household names which people trusted
with their savings, such as London & Manchester, Pearl, Royal
& Sun Alliance and Guardian