I want to tell you about a client of mine of some 18 years. My client saved regularly and strived to better his standard of living and look after his family.
He had worked as a full-time employee with an exemplary attendance record since leaving school and also ran his own self-employed business with the help of his family.
He suffered a bad injury in 1994 due to a car accident and has not worked since. He has spinal injuries and psychological problems that suggest he will not be able to work again.A senior consultant examined him during the period after his accident. He felt he could do nothing further for my client and signed him off.
The adjudicators on the panel of the DSS awarded him disability for life benefit and his own GP, with whom he has been in constant contact, recognises it is unlikely that my client will ever be able to work again. His employer terminated his employment on the grounds of ill health.
My gripe is with Axa Equity & Law – with whom I have placed much business over the years – who have been very unsympathetic and unreasonable in connection with my client's life care claim for permanent and total disability.
My client has life and critical-illness cover and waiver of premium. Premiums are still being waived for my client but Axa Equity & Law have recently declined to pay £20,000 for a permanent and total disability claim – nearly seven years after the accident.
My client is aged 39.Axa Equity & Law state that “permanent disability is such that it prevents or will prevent my client from carrying on any gainful occupation at any time during his lifetime”.
They also state that my client must provide satisfactory medical evidence that demonstrates his condition will permanently prevent him from ever being able to perform any gainful employment.
For this purpose, they quote “permanent” as meaning beyond the hope of recovery with current medical knowledge and technology.
I am very disappointed with Axa Equity & Law regarding their position. I sold the policy in good faith to a client who diligently kept his part of the contract and has had his earning capability cut short through no fault of his own. I wrote to Axa Equity & Law to let them know the type of person my client is but to no avail.
I wonder over what length of time they may realise that my client will never be able to work again?
It leaves me very perplexed and reluctant to carry on promoting critical-illness cover if companies who are only too happy to accept business fail to look after the deserving people who have put their trust and faith in them.
I can only sympathise with my client and suggest that Axa Equity & Law have not come out of this very well at all in my eyes – and certainly not in those of my client.
Fernleigh Wearden & Co, Preston