The role of insurance in supporting our personal financial stability is often underestimated; until it vanishes. We regularly see the havoc caused when insurance does not respond as intended and advise on how to put it right. Insurers may try to avoid insurance, leaving you as if the cover never existed, or they may be trying to reduce the benefit paid out.
Our experience is that insurers are quick to decline cover but, on a more careful evaluation of the claim and the applicable legal and regulatory obligations, insurance can be reinstated and claims paid.
And whenever insurance is in doubt, the broker who gave advice on what type of policy to take out or obtained it from insurers can be found wanting.
We understand the upset and stress caused by catastrophic events such as burglary and flood or a life-threatening diagnosis. Whilst we cannot undo those, we can help to stop insurance companies adding to that distress by failing to meet their contractual obligations.
The law is much more favourable to consumers than it used to be and with the Financial Ombudsman Service also available, there are a number of options to obtaining redress.
We have recently advised on the following types of policy and made claims against some of the leading insurance companies in the UK such as Aviva, Axa, Prudential, Legal and General, several leading Lloyd’s Syndicates and Cigna:
- Household cover following flood, subsidence, theft and fire to name a few – giving rise to claims relating to both the property and the contents such as jewellery and other fixtures and fittings.
- Critical illness cover – where insurers have tried to walk away when serious illnesses such as stroke and cancer were diagnosed.
- Health insurance – again where insurers sought to suggest that there was no cover when serious operations such as heart surgery or major knee surgery were required.
- Life insurance following unexpected deaths.
- Travel insurance to advise on the insured's obligations following a claim.
- Caravan insurance where insurers tried to invalidate the policy after a claim was made.
In a number of these cases claims against insurance brokers have been considered and pursued.
To discuss your insurance issue please contact Susan Hopcraft. Susan worked for over 10 years specialising in insurance litigation for a leading London firm, based in the Lloyd’s Building in the early years of her career and also taking in a secondment to a major international insurance broker. She therefore has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the London insurance market.
We offer a variety of funding options so you can pursue your claim. These include Conditional Fee Agreements including Discounted Conditional Fee Agreements, Capped Conditional Fee Agreements and ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreements. We will discuss funding options with you as part of our consultation.
We were successful in recovering over £800,000 for our client on life cover for a relative who had passed away. The insurance company were not only slow to consider the claim but then made several (unfounded) allegations concerning the disclosure made at the time the policy was placed.
Although the person who took out the insurance and provided the information to the insurer at the time was very sadly not around to explain, we were able to set out the arguments and convince the insurer, with the assistance of the Ombudsman, that the policy was valid and the benefits paid. It is easy for insurers to make these types of allegations but with our assistance, investigation and submissions the insurer was left with nothing on which to rely and realised that they had to pay the benefit.
In this case we complained to the Financial Ombudsman, as a lower cost and risk route, rather than taking action at court although court is always an option in these cases.