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Anger as Zurich fails to honour guarantee

Complaint filed to FOS after Zurich claims FSA guidance overrides its guarantee to customers

Zurich has come under attack for failing to uphold its salesforce’s “We guarantee to put it right” promise by time-barring mortgage endowment claims.

The firm claims the time bar, imposed in line with FSA guidance, overrides the guarantee which the Allied Dunbar salesforce used, along with the strength of its parent company, as a selling point against IFAs.

Complaint-handling firm Renaissance Mortgages has already lodged a case with the Financial Ombudsman Service and written to the FSA, saying Zurich has a responsibility to uphold its guarantee and promises to its customers.

The guarantee stated that its advisers are committed to giving advice best suited to the objectives of the client and “If this proves not to be the case, we guarantee to put it right.”

The FOS says any guarantee and whether it can supersede the time-barring rules depends on the nature of the wording.

Zurich senior press officer Helen Barnes says: “At the end of last year, we reviewed the situation and continue to believe our decision is correct and time-barring supersedes the guarantee. The wording of the guarantee confirms to customers their legal rights which we strive to honour but in this instance we feel we have made the correct decision.”

Renaissance director Seb Wade says: “Zurich actively employed the guarantee as part of its sale to customers and we will continue to do all we can to get justice for our customers.”

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “What this sounds like to me is that Zurich has made a contractual agreement with the holder of the mortgage endowment to put things right and I do not see how any lawyer, judge or reasonable person will see it otherwise.”

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