My husband of 64 years passed away in February 2020. They had three life policies that Reassure now has, but I’m told it can’t locate them. I hired a lawyer but, because of the cost, I am now trying to resolve the issues myself.
I have written to Reassure thrice and used its online portal. It either fails to respond or tells me it cannot locate policies. EG, Northants.
A reader could not trace her husband’s life policies after his death – but when we steered the firm to do a more thorough search, he found a payment of £41,000.
Tony Hazel replies: One of your late husband’s policies was that of Royal Exchange Assurance, which dates back to 1961, and two from Atlas Assurance from 1963.
You already did a lot of work to track these down on ReAssure as well as pay a dysfunctional lawyer £400 plus VAT. ReAssure told you: ‘After a thorough search of our files we are unable to locate this policy.’
I asked the firm to try again, and it spent several weeks trawling through Microfitch files before coming back with astonishing results.
These policies were not life insurance. In fact, they were investments that paid regular income either in a lump sum or through an annuity when they matured in 1997.
It took some mind-expanding calculations to figure out what you were owed. ReAssure concluded that the annuity income option would have paid more, and therefore arranged a payment of £24,707.40.
But then one of the actuarial team discovered another policy that had been transferred from the Guardian.
This triggered an additional payment of £16,289.23, for a total of £40,996.63. I suggested that larger compensation was needed to reflect the potential consequences of those catastrophic initial errors when you were given a brush-off.
Your daughter also demanded fair compensation. ReAssure covered the attorney’s fees and – after some negotiation – added £1,000. You have made a generous donation to the Prostate Cancer Charity.
A Reassure spokesperson explains: ‘It is not uncommon for policies to mature but have not been claimed before we have acquired them, but the length of time in this case is extremely rare.
‘Under normal circumstances we would expect at least one original record of a policy that expired before coming into reassure, but since these policies matured 20 years prior to acquisition, we have no record of them on our system Was.’
Having said that, ReAssure acknowledges that ‘you shouldn’t have been told that we didn’t get the policy and we’re very sorry for that’.
A reader said that his friend’s brother was given a power of attorney for his mother, but they disappeared without a trace and did not receive any financial support.
He used a power of attorney to buy the house and then moved
My friend’s brother was given a power of attorney for his mother after the family sold the house. He used the family property to buy a ‘forever home’ with his grandmother.
But three months ago, he left his mother with my friend – his brother – changed his phone number and left.
Now my friend is taking care of his mother without any financial or emotional support. He neither knows nor does he know where his pension is going nor what other help he can get.
NS, Dagenham, Essex.
Tony Hazel replies: Who is such a person who leaves the parents at the siblings’ house and then disappears with the money? I can only assume that the brother is running out of debt.
Melinda Giles, a member of the Law Society’s Wills and Equity Committee, tells me that if a permanent power of attorney (LPA) exists, your friend should report the situation to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which investigates the attorney’s actions. will do.
Although this is not a public document, your friend can apply for a search in the OPG which will confirm the details of the LPA.
She adds: ‘He can also report the matter to the security team of the local authority, and this may be able to provide some help as well as interrogate the pension authorities.
‘It would also be prudent for the brother to instruct a lawyer or to contact his local civic advisor about the issue.’
Also I will contact his bank and work and pension department regarding his state pension.
It would help if your friend has his mother’s National Insurance Number. He needs legal advice – and the sooner the better.
Hastings said the vandals wrote to my Renault Clio
My car parked on a main road near my house was vandalized. Two tires on the passenger side exploded. The garage across the street wanted £160 to replace them; A nationwide fitter quoted £100.
I received a crime number and called my insurer, Hastings Direct. After a 30-minute call I was told that my car, the 55-plate Renault Clio, would be written off and collected in 53 days.
The call handler then changed its mind, saying it would be collected in 50 minutes, and terminated the call. I tried ‘live chat’ and was then told that my car would be taken and a courtesy car was missed. For two weeks I have been emailing and noticing two flat tyres. TM, Colchester.
Tony Hazel replies: I contacted Hastings Direct and – hey presto – contacted you immediately to resolve this mess.
A Hastings Direct spokesperson told me: ‘Given the claim, there have been very few errors in our customer’s claims journey and we apologize for these.
‘We will cover the cost of damaged tires and provided a rental car when he is without his vehicle.’
How much time and cost for something that could have been settled for £100 if Hastings Direct had answered correctly on the day you called.
straight to the point
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