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Non-Gar Equitable clients win time deal

Lawyers representing non-GAR Equitable Life policyholders have signed an agreement with the life office not to bar claims on the grounds that they have run out of time.

The agreement allows people in the class action to pursue claims if they took the policy out after March 1996 despite delays to the Equitable-commissioned report into misselling from B&W Deloitte.

In a letter to solicitors Irwin Mitchell and Class Law, the company accepts that non-GARs do not have unlimited patience.

The report, expected later this year, looks into misselling claims by non-GAR policyholders who left the society before the compromise agreement for which Equitable has already put money aside.

Equitable says the agreement allows both sides to save on legal costs.

Policyholders not represented by the law firms have been warned that they face running out of the six-year timeframe from when the policy is bought to make legal claims if complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Ser-vice are unsuccessful.

FOS press officer Iris Baker says: “If people are concerned about legal time limit requirements, they should speak to their solicitors.”

Irwin Mitchell associate Alan Owens says: “People are surprised that when they register their case with the Ombudsman, their position as to time is not protected.

“The letter from Equitable is an amber light to a compensation scheme. If misselling claims go to court, existing Equitable policyholders would have to foot the bill.”

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