Eye-wa­ter­ing Caught out by in­surance small print

Fi­nan­cial trou­bleshooter Jessica Gorst-wil­liams is here to help you with your money prob­lems

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Money -

Send your ques­tions Write to Jessica, Tele­graph Money, The Daily Tele­graph, 111 Buckingham Palace Rd, Lon­don SW1W 0DT

A full postal ad­dress, a sig­na­ture and day­time tele­phone num­ber are needed Why won’t Pru­den­tial pay?

My mother died late last year when she was 92. My brother dealt with all mat­ters as it went to pro­bate, which was granted.

Her many other poli­cies paid out, but Pru­den­tial In­ter­na­tional re­fused to. My brother sent the same ID to all the other com­pa­nies but Pru­den­tial said there was a prob­lem with mine.

Can you ad­vise how to get this mat­ter fi­nalised?


The pol­icy was writ­ten in trust for you and your brother as joint ben­e­fi­cia­ries and was out­side the es­tate.

I un­der­stand that one of your iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments had been cer­ti­fied by a re­tired lec­turer. This oc­cu­pa­tion was not on the long list of peo­ple who could cer­tify doc­u­ments for Pru­den­tial, who in­cluded jus­tices of the peace, no­taries, pub­lic/ prac­tis­ing so­lic­i­tors, prac­tis­ing char­tered and cer­ti­fied pub­lic ac­coun­tants and em­bassy or con­sular staff.

Other or­gan­i­sa­tions may ac­cept cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from peo­ple in oc­cu­pa­tions other than the ones Pru­den­tial re­quires. The Pru had sent a list only to your brother and said it was sorry not to have sent one to you.

Around the time I got in touch with Pru­den­tial it agreed af­ter all to pro­ceed with the pay­ment on the ba­sis that it al­ready had other forms of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion that ac­tu­ally com­plied with the reg­u­la­tions. It now re­alised this was enough to en­able it to pay out the bond with­out fur­ther fuss.

In view of the in­con­ve­nience, it has paid £150 for good­will.

Am I too old for a TSB over­draft?

My wife and I have over­seen a suc­cess­ful roofing busi­ness trad­ing for 40 years.

Ow­ing to the va­garies of the weather tak­ing a toll on our out­put and cash flow over the past few months, we de­cided to ap­proach our bank, where we have been cus­tomers for more than 50 years, for a very short-term over­draft.

Hav­ing sup­plied its busi­ness cen­tre with co­pi­ous in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing our con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial as­sets, we were in­formed that over­drafts were not avail­able to those over 75.


You wanted to buy a truck and ini­tially asked to bor­row £20,000. When that was re­jected you re­quested £10,000.

TSB says it rec­om­mended a loan as it felt over­drafts should only be short term. You ac­tu­ally wanted the sum only for the short term and had said so. You have al­ready paid the money back to the lender you went to af­ter TSB turned you down.

The bank told me the re­fusal was noth­ing to do with your ages, which are 76 and 74.

A TSB spokesman said: “We’re re­ally sorry that Mr and Mrs C are un­happy with the ser­vice they’ve re­ceived from TSB. We want our busi­ness cus­tomers to bor­row well, and that means be­ing con­fi­dent that their busi­ness can af­ford any loan re­pay­ment on an on­go­ing ba­sis to en­sure they do not put their busi­ness at risk.”

TSB had sug­gested that you add your daugh­ter, who is part of the busi­ness, as a part­ner on the ac­count.

It says this is be­cause she will, it be­lieves, ul­ti­mately have re­spon­si­bil­ity for the longer-term run­ning of the busi­ness. Noth­ing to do with your ages then?

Should my new in­surer cover me?

I won­der if you might be able to help with a claim I have made un­der my health­care pol­icy held with Saga and un­der­writ­ten by Axa.

I was di­ag­nosed with cataracts dur­ing a rou­tine visit to my op­ti­cians in 2013. At the time no treat­ment was con­sid­ered nec­es­sary. How­ever, re­cently I was ad­vised I needed treat­ment for them. The pol­icy cov­ers my wife and me and costs £355 monthly, but the in­surer won’t pay.


The op­ti­cian con­tin­ued to mon­i­tor the cataracts and ad­vise you about them at each ap­point­ment. When you had moved your pri­vate med­i­cal in­surance to Saga in 2015 it hadn’t oc­curred to you to men­tion the cataracts. I can un­der­stand why but the fact that this might be rel­e­vant is some­thing to be aware of.

You had opted for a mora­to­rium rather than hav­ing pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions un­der­writ­ten. This meant you could not claim for con­di­tions you had had in the pre­vi­ous three years.

The claim is be­ing em­phat­i­cally turned down and I can­not change this for you.

It is al­ways worth think­ing care­fully be­fore switch­ing from a cur­rent in­surer when there are pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions.

In your case the pre­vi­ous in­surer’s pre­mi­ums had been so high that it seems the price you have now paid to have the cataracts done pri­vately bal­ances the over­all sav­ing in pre­mi­ums.

Be­cause of the vol­ume of mail re­ceived, it is not pos­si­ble to re­spond to ev­ery let­ter, and cor­re­spon­dence can­not be en­tered into. Please do not send orig­i­nal doc­u­ments or stamped and ad­dressed en­velopes. Re­spon­si­bil­ity, le­gal or oth­er­wise, for an­swers given can­not be ac­cepted. Cases cur­rently with an om­buds­man, go­ing through a court of law or sent to other col­umns will not be con­sid­ered. In ad­di­tion, I can­not take up is­sues when the writer is a third party, other than in ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances. I can­not re­spond to emails.

Keep an eye on pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions if you change in­surer

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