I hope that the following information may be of interest to your readers.
In 1995, I sold a life and critical-illness policy to a friend – called Jane for the purpose of this letter. It supported her mortgage.
She argued for some days over the inclusion of critical-illness cover and, of course, said it was not cover that she would ever need.
She took the cover and, as she increased her mortgage, the cover was increased.
In February, Jane called me at home on a Sunday. She asked me for help in arranging a loan. She wanted to buy a more reliable car. During the conversation she mentioned that she had been in hospital and that cancer had been diagnosed.
On further questioning, she told me that the cancer had spread to her lungs. At first,she did not believe me when I explained about the critical-illness cover she had within her policy.
Next evening, armed with a claim form that Axa faxed to me during the afternoon, I visited Jane. The following day, the claim was received by the company and acknowledged.
Over the next four weeks, the outstanding information from Jane's GP was chased up while her hospital consultant replied within one week.
Today, the company confirmed acceptance of the claim, Jane signed it, and the form has been returned to Axa for settlement.
In the meantime, the mortgage provider, Halifax, had been approached and – despite Jane being in a very favourable capped arrangement with penalties on her mortgage until December 2002 – the company has agreed to allow immediate repayment of the mortgage without penalty.
My fee for the work involved, including double time for Saturdays and Sundays – £0.00. My commission for helping to repay the mortgage – £0.00. Total charge for client – £0.00.
What other industry provides the service that we provide at no cost?
As Howard Davies and his regulators sit in their ivory tower tell us what they think our clients want, do they ask people such as Jane?
Does Mr Davies realise that, without IFAs, most people would have little or no cover or, worse, the wrong cover?
Most products in our indus-try are sold and not bought. Despite squeezed margins, companies act generously and professionally. Our industry should be proud of its record, resilience and professionalism.
Beltinge IFA, Herne Bay, Kent