• Funeral Insurance – dubious claims.
The complainant, who was also the policyholder and the premium payer, insured the life of Ms A under two group scheme funeral policies with company X. Both policies were applied for telephonically through the company’s telemarketing department. When Ms A died and the insurer failed to meet the complainant’s claim, she referred her complaint to us. The company responded:
(i) that, on listening to the recording of the applications for insurance, the policyholder described herself in the one case as the life assured’s daughter and in the other as her step-sister;
(ii) that there was a significant discrepancy between the surnames of the life assured on the submitted death certificate and identity document;
(iii) that a quotation from the funeral undertaker supplied by the complainant in support of the claim had been tampered with;
(iv) that no payment had in fact been made to the undertaker who buried Ms A;
(v) that it would appear that premiums were deducted from the complainant’s banking account in respect of other policies covering various people’s lives; and,
(vi) finally, that the complainant could not furnish convincing proof of the family relationship existing between herself and the deceased.
The company chose to repudiate liability on the narrow ground that an insurable interest had not been proven, in consequence of which all premiums were refunded to the premium holder.
Confronted with this array of potential defences the policyholder chose not to respond. Our file was accordingly closed. This was yet another of several instances where a complainant, faced with an insurer’s explanation to the complaint lodged with us, chose, instead of pressing on with the complaint, to beat a prudent retreat.