Prudential has fallen off a lot of other insurance companies’ and IFAs’ Christmas card lists.
The life office issued research last week saying that a breath-taking 43.9bn of critical-illness claims have not been paid in the last five years.
It also says – advisers take note – that it does not matter whether the policy was bought direct or from an IFA as the chances of seeing a claim turned down are the same.
Pru says its new flexible protection plan will help reduce this figure. But the ABI, other life offices and protection experts such as Peter LeBeau estimate that the figure on unpaid claims is nearer 2.3bn.
The Pru’s numbers come from research consultancy TNS and were derived from questions asked of the public and IFAs of their claims’ experience.
This has provoked an irate reaction from the rest of the industry, including accusations of scaremongering and of simply getting the numbers wrong.
Using PR to knock the rest of the industry is a tried and tested tactic but has to be based on accurate numbers.
If the facts are wrong, all that PR work can go wrong. There is such as thing as bad publicity, which is something that Prudential should know by now. We hope it can back up its numbers or it should withdraw them.