My husband died while waiting for L&G to pay a terminal illness claim. He was diagnosed with a rare but aggressive cancer on July 23.
He wanted to make a terminal illness claim on his L&G insurance.
I returned claims forms to the company on August 8. On August 20, L&G texted saying it had not received the claim. I phoned and staff confirmed they had received it, but someone had failed to tick a box.
Heartless: L&G, delayed a terminal illness claim due to a unticked box, meaning the policy holder died before it could be settled
On September 6, L&G said it had not had a response from the consultant, but the consultant’s secretary said they had responded on August 27.
On September 20, L&G claimed it was still awaiting the consultant’s report. Two days later, it said the report would be passed to its oncologist.
On September 29, my husband died. On October 1, L&G said the claim had been passed to a senior claims handler. Can you help?
E. R., Telford.
Tony Hazell replies: This case has many complexities but at the heart of it is one simple fact: through sheer incompetence L&G managed to string out this claim for more than two months during which time your husband, their customer, died.
Some claims can be bounced back and forth to firm up the details, but others demand immediate and urgent action. L&G should know the difference.
The details of this claim are difficult. There were two policies involved. One was a joint life policy which was reduced in value to £40,000 in September last year after you decided you could no longer afford payments. This policy has finally been paid.
The other is more complex. The policy would have been worth £100,000 but, despite me pushing, L&G has refused to pay out.
L&G said it did not receive the annual direct debit payment and wrote to your husband on April 12. When it heard nothing back the policy lapsed on May 7.
The insurer wrote again offering to reinstate the policy. This could have been done on the same terms if the payment had been made by July 7.
It is unclear how this happened but the direct debit was definitely cancelled. I have argued with L&G that no one who had serious health concerns and was undergoing investigations would let a life insurance policy lapse deliberately.
Although your husband was not officially diagnosed until July 16, problems were detected in a scan in June.
Regarding those texts, L&G blames technical issues and human error.
After some back and forth, L&G has now offered you £2,000 in compensation.
A spokesman says: ‘We recognise no amount of compensation can reflect the circumstances surrounding the claim. However, we hope Mrs R accepts the offer in the manner it is intended.’
You have reluctantly accepted but told me: ‘I will never forgive L&G for its failures nor can I forget the callous way in which it dealt with a terminally ill policy holder and subsequently his grieving wife.’ You will donate the money to specialist cancer charity AMMF so with gift aid it will receive £2,500.
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some about our feature on how an inflation spike could hit your retirement income.
I am single and still working, but I can see how difficult it must be to live off the state pension, even if it is topped up by a small private pension.
There are certain things — such as council tax — which you can’t really cut back on.
S. N., Birmingham.
Our fixed energy deal is coming to an end next month. I only have a living room, bedroom and bathroom, but the hiked payments will wipe out all of my state pension rise. I can’t claim any extra benefits because I have too much in savings.
T. Y., Stockport.
I feel very sorry for pensioners. Throughout their lives, the advice was to save into a building society or bank.
Now, through no fault of their own, the interest rates paid on those accounts have plummeted.
A. G., London.
The problem is that it isn’t always easy for pensioners to get to the supermarkets, which have the best offers.
Many don’t drive and some don’t have access to the internet, so they can’t order online.
P. T., Uxbridge.
We beat the sneaker scammers but Royal Mail won’t foot the bill
My son, who is 13, sold some expensive trainers on Instagram in February. He confirmed he had received the money via PayPal. I didn’t check. I am a key worker and was very busy.
He was being pressured to post the shoes so I told him to use Special Delivery. When I got home, I realised he had been scammed. The police arranged a controlled delivery with Royal Mail and made an arrest.
We were told the trainers would be used as evidence. They were returned to Royal Mail, which then disposed of them, even though the firm had my details and was aware they were part of an ongoing police investigation.
Royal Mail says this is what happens to items without a return address.
My son assures me the box had the return address on. I cannot prove this and Royal Mail cannot prove otherwise. Royal Mail is refusing to pay the insurance.
L. A., Tadworth, Surrey.
Tony Hazell replies: Having lived with two teenage boys, I appreciate the urge to dispose of smelly trainers can be overwhelming, but surely Royal Mail got this wrong.
Whether or not there was a return address was irrelevant. It wouldn’t have taken much initiative for Royal Mail to ask the police for details of the owners.
It says the package was opened in a secure environment to look for details of the sender, but if it had fallen off or been removed then it wouldn’t be there.
But I came back to the fact that this package was given to Royal Mail by the police.
When I emphasised this, Royal Mail had a change of heart and told you: ‘Based on the controlled delivery supported by the police and the apprehension of the fraudster and the return of trainers to Royal Mail, I can support your disappointment at not receiving recompense.’ It has now reimbursed the £191.14.
Incidentally, I assume your son used your Paypal account as these should only be available to those aged 18 and over.
It’s also worth emphasising to your son that nothing is so important that it can’t wait until Mum and Dad get home from work.
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