Today insurance giants who condemn savers to a life sentence of rip-off pension payouts by depriving them of thousands of pounds of income have been named and shamed - by their own industry body.
The Association Of British Insurers has ordered its members to publicly publish how much they pay out in pensions in exchange for customers' nest eggs, the Daily Mail reports.
It is the first time insurance giants have had to come clean about the annuities - the annual income for life in exchange for a pension pot - they have been offering customers.
Until now, it has been virtually impossible to find out officially which firms were routinely offering the worst annuity rates.
It means millions of customers have been pushed into deals without their knowledge, and without knowing they could shop around for a better rate elsewhere.
This has let insurers rake in an estimated £1 billion a year from savers.
Now new rules mean insurers must publish what they would have paid customers for their nest eggs in 12 different scenarios.
These will include payouts for individuals about to cash in a pension pot who are ill, who want to include income for a husband or wife - and how the rates vary according to where you live.
The insurers must publish new figures every two months and the ‘scenarios' will also change in a bid to stop insurers manipulating the system.
And for the first time, so-called zombie insurers - firms who no longer take on new customers and are sitting on billions of pounds in their pension funds - will also have to publish their annuity rates.
The figures reveal today how some of these firms are leaving customers as much as £11,000 out of pocket over a 19-year retirement.
For example, in the case of a 65-year-old who had smoked for a decade, the amounts offered varied by 50 %.
Friends Life, which boasts it offers ‘market-leading products' in its marketing material, would offer a 65-year-old man with a £24,000 pension pot who had smoked for over a decade just £1,213.59 a year.
By contrast, with Prudential, the same saver would receive 46% more at £1,778.23 a year.
The saver would have lost out on £11,000 if they had taken the Friends Life deal and lived until the age of 84.
The ABI says the idea of publishing the figures is to highlight the importance of shopping around.
But critics warn that because annuity rates constantly chop and change and the published figures will be two months old, it will be impossible for ordinary savers to get a handle on what are really the best deals.
This is because some firms that are top of the table for some scenarios can sink to the bottom in others.
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