The insurance industry has given a warm welcome to Raising Standards, a new benchmarking scheme for pensions, protection and investment products.

The scheme has been backed by 41 firms, including Axa, Bupa, RSA and Eagle Star.

Association of British Insurers (ABI) director general Mary Francis said of the initiative: "Consumers in the UK still do far too little to provide for their long-term needs. These new standards are designed to strengthen customer confidence and thereby encourage more saving."

But the ABI ruled out transferring the initiative to the general insurance market.