Frequently asked questions

Click on the links below to be shown the answers to these frequently asked questions.

The easiest way is to telephone us to change your address,. Our contact details are shown below:

Please click on the link to find out how to Get in touch

We currently try to deal with all enquiries as quickly as possible and always aim to respond within 10 - 20 working days.

Please go to our Investment hub to find out what you need to do.

Generally, for a cash in value, we use the price on the day we receive your valid instruction.

For a final pay-out, we use the price on the final pay-out date. However, some individual policy conditions may vary from this.

The reason we request policy documents is so that they are no longer available for use as security for loans. If you are making a claim and sign the discharge form that you cannot find the policy document this will not hold up your claim. If you require a copy for information purposes then we can provide this.

You should seek legal advice as to the best way to protect their interests. This may include considering a Trust, Power of Attorney or assignment of the benefits.

Please go to either our Life Insurance hub Life Insurance hub or our Pensions hub to find our what you need to do.

We typically send these out around 6 weeks after the end of the tax year - so in mid-May.

Bonus updates are usually sent out in June each year.

With profits questions

A with profits policy is designed to provide a benefit at some future time. This might be at the end of a fixed period - for example 25 years after the policy started. It might provide the benefit when you reach a certain age - perhaps 60 or 65. It might only provide the benefit when the life assured dies. There are two types of with-profits policies conventional with-profits policies and unitised with-profits policies.

Some policies provide a lump sum in cash when the policy benefit is due. If you would like to know exactly what benefit your policy provides, you can use one of the methods set out in the contact us page.

In order to pay for the benefit, you pay us premiums. Most policies have regular premiums paid every month, but some have other ways of paying premiums. Some policies originally had regular premiums, which have now ceased.

In exchange for paying the premiums a conventional with-profits policy promises a minimum guaranteed benefit - called the 'sum assured' or 'guaranteed benefit'. The unique feature of a 'with profits' policy is that bonuses can be added to this minimum guarantee as the policy progresses.

With a unitised with profits policy, your premiums purchase units in the fund at the unit price. Some policies guarantee that the unit price will increase at a minimum rate. Bonuses are added to unitised policies by increasing the unit price, and thus the value of your units.

  1. To meet contractual obligations to policyholders in all reasonably foreseeable circumstances;
  2. To treat policyholders fairly;
  3. To manage the business in a sound financial manner and, in particular, to meet the tests of solvency and capital adequacy required by regulatory bodies.

They are additions to the benefits that are paid under the policy and are the way in which your policy shares in the profits of your Utmost Life and Pensions with profits sub fund.

They can either be annual (reversionary) bonuses or final (terminal) bonuses.
A reversionary bonus may be added to the policy annually. Once added it cannot be reduced or taken away. However future bonus rates are not guaranteed and can be changed or removed at any time.

The annual bonuses will be paid in full on the maturity or normal retirement date of your policy or on earlier death, provided you have paid all premiums due and have not altered your policy.

A final bonus is an additional bonus which may be paid on termination of the policy due to death or maturity. This bonus is not guaranteed and can be changed or removed at any time.

A proportion of the annual and final bonus is also paid on the early termination of any life or pension policy when taking the proceeds or, for pension policies, when transferring them to another provider. The amount is determined when the event occurs.

Final bonus is also allocated to unitised with profits policies by an increase in the unit price. As final bonuses are not guaranteed to remain unchanged, this means that part of the unit price is not guaranteed, and thus the unit price may be reduced in future.

At the time the business was transferred from Hearts of Oak to Reliance Mutual, with profits benefits under conventional policies in WPSF 6 were re-structured. A portion of the guaranteed benefits was replaced by a special final bonus. This special final bonus is not guaranteed. The purpose of the benefit restructure was to improve the security and financial prospects of the fund, for the benefit of all policyholders.

Annual and final bonuses attaching to pensions policies are paid in the same manner as the basic benefit; that is as an addition to the basic guaranteed pension, open market option, cash payment or transfer value.

Life assurance policies receive the guaranteed sum assured together with any annual and final bonuses in cash when a claim arises or on the policy maturity date (if any).

The amount declared depends on the progress of the underlying fund in which premiums are invested. This depends mainly on the returns earned from the assets in which the fund is invested. Profits from all the business written in the fund are available to be distributed as bonuses.

In setting bonus rates, returns are smoothed so that part of the short-term fluctuations in investment values are not reflected in payments. The aim is that policy benefits will be broadly similar year on year. Smoothing reduces the risk of you receiving a low payout if investment markets are low when your benefit is due to be paid. In exchange you won't receive the full benefit if investment markets are high.

The amount of total annual bonuses accumulated so far is shown on your Bonus Update. Bonus Updates are usually issued in May each year for most policies.

For all sub funds annual bonus rates are the same as last year.

For WPSF1, on 1 April 2019 we declared a special bonus of 25% of the guaranteed policy benefits for all types of policies in the fund. This special bonus is a one off declaration in addition to the annual bonus and it is not intended to be a future regular annual declaration.

Annual bonuses had been set to zero for with profit policies in WPSF6 before these policies were acquired by Reliance Mutual. Unless there are significant changes in the investment returns available from fixed interest securities, it is unlikely that the annual bonus will change in future years except for annuities in payment.

Final bonuses are used to determine the overall level of policy payouts. Final bonus rates changed on 1 October 2019. The following figures compare the payouts from 1 April 2019 with those payable on 1 October 2019.

In WPSF1, payouts have increased by an average of 7.2% for ordinary branch and 5.5% for industrial branch policies.

In WPSF2, payouts have increased by between 3.0% and 5.2%.

In WPSF4, payouts remain unchanged for deferred annuities.

When deferred annuities commence being paid, the proportion of the annuity represented by the final bonus remains a non-guaranteed amount, and may be varied from year to year.

During 2018 the surplus available from the sub fund increased which has allowed Utmost to increase the non-guaranteed amount of the annuities in payment.

This increase applies to payments due on and after 1 July 2019 and is equal to 8.4% of the guaranteed amount of each annuity payment provided that the annuity commenced being paid before 1 January 2019.

This increase is not guaranteed and can be changed at any time.

For October 2019, no variation will be made in these amounts.

In WPSF6, the proportion of special bonus payable on life policies and pension policies has remained at 100%.

The proportion of non-guaranteed bonus remains at 100%.

From 1 October 2019, an extra final bonus (sometimes also called "terminal bonus") will be paid on all with profits policies in WPSF6 when they become claims on death or at maturity. An allowance will also be made for extra final bonus within the calculation of surrender values. The amount of extra final bonus is expressed as a percentage of the guaranteed benefits and attaching bonuses on the date of the claim. The rate of extra final bonuses that will be added to claims from 1 October 2019 is 24.9% for pensions business and 23.7% for life business. Extra Final bonus rates are not guaranteed and may be altered at any time. This change will result in an average increase in payouts for pension policies of 4.9% and for life policies of 4.7%.

Annuities in payment in WPSF6 will see a bonus of 0.5% of the basic annuity during 2019. This bonus is non-guaranteed.

For Unitised With Profits policies, all Market Value Reductions on Life and Pension policies have reduced and terminal bonuses have increased.

For all sub funds, future annual bonuses and all final bonuses are not guaranteed and the rates may be changed without notice.

Annual bonus rates do not change often. When there is a need to change rates we introduce changes gradually, so that the change from year to year is small.

We change final bonus rates at least once a year. The method used generally leads to stable rates unless there are large movements in investment markets, so reviews at other times should not normally be necessary. We may also review final bonus rates if there are significant changes in investment markets during the year.

Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future.

Your premiums are combined with those from all the other policyholders in your sub fund and are invested in a wide range of securities including:

  • UK shares
  • Overseas shares
  • Fixed interest securities
  • Property
  • Cash deposits

The expenses charged to your with profits fund are on a basis that was established at the time the fund was transferred to the Company (or to Reliance Mutual) and are subject to inflationary increases.

If you are unable or do not wish to continue paying premiums to your policy, it is normally possible for a cash value to be paid on a life assurance policy. Under a pension contract, it is not normally possible, under current tax rules, for a cash value to be paid if you are aged under 55, although you can transfer the value of your policy to another pension provider. If you are aged 55 or above then it is possible to access your pension fund benefits.

When we calculate early termination values, we try to treat policyholders terminating on a basis that is consistent with and fair to those policyholders who remain in the fund.

For unitised with profits policies the early termination value is the value of units allocated to the policy. This value may be reduced by a market value reduction factor ("MVR"). MVRs are designed to ensure that policyholders leaving the with profits fund receive a fair share of the fund, and neither advantage nor disadvantage the remaining policyholders. At times it is not necessary to apply an MVR.

  • Industrial Branch policyholders do not generally receive annual bonus updates. The main contact was traditionally between the agent who called at the door to collect premiums, and thus was able to answer questions face to face. The nature of this operation has changed, and we are giving consideration to sending bonus information by post at some time in the future.
  • Annual notifications of bonus are also not normally sent in respect of annuities in payment, unless the amount due to be paid changes.
  • Only with profits policies receive bonuses. You may have a non-profit or unit linked policy.
  • If you used to receive bonus updates, it may be that we no longer hold your current address. You can get in touch with us to update your address by calling us on 01892 510033 or by writing to us at Customer Services, Utmost Life and Pensions Limited, Utmost House, 6 Vale Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RG. Calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.
  • Utmost Life and Pensions may close a with profit fund if the total assets in the fund goes below a threshold. The threshold is £25m for WPSF 1, WPSF 4 and WPSF 6, and £10m for WPSF 2. If Utmost decides to close a with profits fund, which will only be done if the Board is satisfied that this course of action is in the best interests of the policyholders in the fund, all the policyholder benefits will become guaranteed and would be transferred into Utmost's main Non Profit Fund (NPF). The decision to close a with profit fund is taken by the Board on the advice of the With Profits Actuary and With Profits Committee of the Company.

When WPSF3 and WPSF5 were established in 2004 and 2007 respectively, the High Court agreed to arrangements that enabled the sub funds to be wound up once they had declined to less than a certain size. We decided to wind up WPSF3 and WPSF5 with effect from 1 October 2013, as the trigger points for wind up had been passed. We felt that the risk of a small fund having significant and frequent revisions to bonus rates was high and that it would be advantageous to policyholders to have certainty as to the amount their policies would pay out.

We therefore replaced the non-guaranteed and uncertain future bonuses on the with profits policies in these sub-funds with a guaranteed policy value. Having done this there is no need to keep a separate fund of assets and liabilities as all policy payouts are guaranteed by Utmost Life and Pensions as a whole. WPSF3 and WPSF5 were therefore merged with our main non-profit sub fund, the Ordinary Sub Fund (OSF).

With profits policyholders in WPSF3 and WPSF5 have been advised of the guaranteed benefits now attaching to their policies.