More 2 Life has cut rates on its Tailored Choice Plan and adapted criteria for enhanced loan-to-value rates.
The lender says the move will enable more customers to qualify for higher LTVs.
It has cut the monthly interest rate by 0.35 percentage points to 6.35% and is now able to offer higher LTVs to a wider range of customers with medical conditions or lifestyle issues that affect their health.
Higher enhanced rates up to 55.5% are now available to anyone with a qualifying condition, including smokers and people with high blood pressure.
More 2 Life claims that its analysis shows as many as three out of four homeowners aged 65-plus have conditions that could qualify them for an enhanced LTV everything from being overweight and hypertension through to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. However, it estimates that only around one in six equity release plans are sold on enhanced terms.
Enhanced equity release increases the potential loan for clients; in some cases LTVs as high as 55.5% can be achieved on enhanced rates against a typical average healthy LTV of around 30%, it claims.
Stuart Wilson, marketing director at More 2 Life, said: “The rate reduction and new LTV criteria underlines the competitiveness of enhanced products and will ensure more customers and their advisers can benefit.
“However medical underwriting should be a given in the equity release market just as it is for annuities. Underwriting customers gives us more confidence that we can provide the most appropriate loan advances and all it takes is 13 simple health and lifestyle questions to see if a customer qualifies.
“Not only do we offer the highest LTVs in the market, we now offer even better LTVs to people who smoke, are overweight and have high blood pressure.”
Richard Overson, Director, Key Retirement, commented: “We’re delighted to hear about the improvements More 2 Life has made to their enhanced lifetime mortgage proposition because we are finding more and more customers now qualify for higher loans because of their health status. Asking health questions is just as important as gathering details about the home and the client’s lending needs.”