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Widows&#39 promise on cheques backlog

Scottish Widows is promising to process 95 per cent of life insurance surrenders and cancellations within three days rather than the current 10 in the face of pressure from independent advisers.

But some intermediaries remain dissatisfied. Many are still waiting for demutual isation cheques following Widows&#39 takeover by Lloyds TSB earlier this year although the cheque payments started in August.

Widows is currently quoting 25 days to process claims although most are settled within 10 days compared with the insurance industry average of five days.

Widows says it is aiming to have 95 per cent of life insurance surrenders and cancellations processed within three days over the next few weeks.

It is also reassuring IFAs and their clients that it will include interest within the payment amount if it takes longer to settle the claim than its benchmark service standard states.

But IFAs remain dissatisfied with service standards.

JS & Partners principal Jonathon Smith says: “I have been asking for my own demutualisation cheque for weeks and I am still waiting.”

Carrington Consultants head of retirement planning William Sallitt says: “Some head-office personnel in life offices do not empathise with the claims they are processing.”

Widows spokeswoman Paula Sutherland says: “Most surrenders take 10 days to process but we are quoting a higher expectation to make sure we beat our standard.

“Processing life claims is a separate issue to making windfall payments. A lot of claims have not been issued because of system errors but we are finally clearing those up.”

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