An online petition calling for Friends Life to pay out on a life and critical illness policy for a father who died of cancer has amassed over 44,000 signatures.
Nic Hughes (pictured) died in October 2011 after being diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder and secondary tumours in his liver.
He notified Friends the previous January that he intended to claim on his and his wife’s joint policy, which would be worth in excess of £100,000.
The Observer reports at the time of applying for the life and critical illness policy in 2009, he had been suffering from an inflammatory bowel condition which he disclosed in the application.
But Friends Life refused to pay out because it said Hughes had failed to answer two questions correctly, concerning whether he had numbness or tingling in his face and limbs and whether he had ever been asked to reduce his alcohol intake for medical reasons.
A letter from Friends said: “The recent symptoms of numbness, loss of feeling and tingling sensations recorded in your medical records, together with the abnormal liver function tests you had, could have indicated the onset of a number of serious medical conditions. If they had known about them, our underwriters would not have been able to offer you cover for at least 12 months.”
The petition has been started by Hughes’ friend Kester Brewin to try and persuade Friends to pay out to his widow and child. At the end of last week, it had over 44,100 signatures.
Hughes’ family has also complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
A Friends Life spokesman says: “We are aware of the current social media activity and the case in question continues to be a priority for senior management. We are listening and fully understand the sentiment around these difficult circumstances.
“However, when we consider an application for critical illness cover, we need to have full disclosure of all conditions and their symptoms so that we can properly assess the case. It is clear in this case that medical symptoms were not disclosed in response to detailed questions on the application form which, had we been aware of them, would have meant we could not offer cover.”