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ombudsman news

issue 48

August 2005

about this issue

We begin this issue with a round-up of recent insurance cases involving alleged non-disclosure (the situation where a customer fails to reveal relevant facts when applying for – or renewing – an insurance policy). Our cases include that of a policyholder who developed lung cancer but was told by the firm that it would not pay out for this under his critical illness policy as he had understated the extent of his alcohol consumption when he applied for his policy.

We look, too, at what banks should and should not do if they decide to tell a customer to close their account and make alternative banking arrangements. Among our case studies is that of a woman who asked for a £500 increase in her overdraft limit and was told by the firm that she should, instead, repay all her borrowing and close her account within seven days.

Finally, in our article - what makes an investor "experienced"- we examine how some investment firms try to defend their inappropriate sale of an investment product by saying that the customer was "experienced". Our wide range of case studies show firms citing – for example – a client’s possession of windfall shares or an inherited portfolio as "proof" that the client required a high-risk or sophisticated product.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 48 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.