Ageas says long-term commercial partnership includes a typical commission that is in line with arrangements in insurance market

Ageas has been drawn into a row over whether charity Age UK has been recommending deals to its elderly members that were not the best value for money.

Regulators on Thursday launched an inquiry into Age UK following claims that the charity has profited from marketing energy deals with supplier Eon to older people.

Since then The Sun Newspaper, which initially revealed the scale of Age UK’s commercial relationship with the energy giant, has also published details about how much elderly customers were paying for Ageas policies compared with policies they could have bought directly from other insurers.

The charity’s commercial arm, Age UK Enterprise, provided almost half a million home, travel and car insurance policies in collaboration with Ageas Insurance in 2014-15.

The policies generated revenues of £21.9m, according to its annual report and financial statements for the year to 31 March 2015, the Guardian reports.

The total revenue for the Enterprise arm was £47.6m.

Age UK said it “strongly” rejected the interpretation of figures.

It added that while its prices were always competitive, it had never claimed to be the cheapest at all times.

Responding to the claims Ageas said: “The long-term commercial partnership includes a typical commission to Age UK Enterprises that is in line with commission arrangements in the insurance market.”

Acevo, which represents chief executives of charities, told the Financial Times, which first reported Age UK’s wider business arrangements: “Charities do engage with the commercial sector and that is not wrong if they do so ethically and transparently.”

The Charity Commission has said its powers are limited to examining the role of trustees.

It is due to get more powers to investigate trustees under the new Charities [Protection and Social Investment] Bill, which is expected to get Royal Assent by the end of February.

However, it will not extend its powers to examine fund-raising.

The Fund Raising Standards Board (FRSB) has already said it will investigate whether Age UK broke the Fundraising Code of Practice.