Call for providers to set out assisted suicide policy

Protection advisers have called on life companies to clarify whether they will pay out in cases of assisted suicide.

Zurich, Aviva, Aegon, Friends Life, PruProtect, Bright Grey, LV= and Ageas Protect all confirm they do not have any exclusions for assisted suicide cases and say each case would be treated on an individual basis.

It is illegal in the UK to help someone with a terminal illness end their life, meaning many people travel to Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe where there are more liberal laws.

Earlier this month, the Independent Commission on Assisted Dying published a report calling for assisted suicides to be legalised for people with certain terminal illnesses.

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey (pictured) says: “Insurers should look at this because there needs to be clarification. It could be argued that if a person who is a beneficiary of a life policy caused their partner’s death and so caused the situation where the insurance would pay out, then they would be barred from getting that money because people cannot benefit from the proceeds of a crime.”

Plan Money director Peter Chadborn says: “There needs to be some clarification. It is not legal to help someone end their life in the UK but we need to know how it would be dealt with, especially if the assisted suicide took place in another country.”

Pinsent Masons partner Bruno Geiringer says: “I think in the UK most insurers would probably apply to the court for a declaration to see whether a claimant who is making a claim should benefit if he or she is found guilty of killing someone. I suspect the court would say this person should not benefit. This might be different if it occurred somewhere like Switzerland because Swiss law would apply.”