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Brantham: Family’s fight for justice reaches Ombudsman

PUBLISHED: 14:00 09 February 2013

Nic Hughes

Nic Hughes

AFTER a complex process, friends and family of Nic Hughes have handed a submission to the Financial Ombudsman asking for justice.

Mr Hughes, a graphic designer from Brantham, near Manningtree, was 44 when he died last October.

His family say he had taken out an insurance policy with Friends Life in good faith, convinced that he had given full disclosure and the insurer had carried out all the necessary pre-policy checks. But they were devastated to discover Friends Life refused to honour his critical illness policy and make payment to his widow and twin eight-year-olds.

Friends Life said after the discovery of “non-disclosure” it cancelled the policy and refunded the premiums it had received.

Mr Hughes’ friend, Kester Brewin, is leading the NicsFight campaign to make Friends Life reverse its decision. He said: “The submission process has been long, stressful and complex, with letters required from specialists and endless documents to gather, causing the family huge emotional and financial distress in the months immediately following Nic’s death.

“NicsFight was started with a simple purpose – to get Friends Life to meet with the Hughes family. They have totally refused even to do this.

“This is a company who have failed to show any human side to its business – and it is paying dearly, with a reputation in pieces.

“The financial ombudsman takes into account public opinion when they decide cases. So as it starts to review Nic’s case, let’s make sure that it understands just how strong public feeling remains.”

A Friends Life spokesman said: “We understand that the case has now been referred to the financial ombudsman and are awaiting official confirmation. The ombudsman is the recognised independent industry forum for disputes of this nature and the complaint procedure is free to the family.

“We will abide by any decision that the ombudsman makes and will do everything we can to make the process as rapid as possible.

“The resolution of this case is a private matter for the family involved.”

Witham MP Priti Patel faced questions over the prospect of a possible Cabinet return this morning in her first broadcast interview since quitting over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures last year.

This is the last week that market traders will operate from Ipswich’s Cornhill for at least a year as work to rebuild the town centre is due to start.

Drivers are being warned they could face delays as roadworks begin at one of Ipswich’s busiest junctions this morning.

The government has still not agreed a deal to end its £50m commitment for the regional fire control “white elephant” in Cambridgeshire – nearly two years after negotiations started.

A police helicopter was involved in a search which continues this morning for a motorist involved in a single-vehicle crash in Suffolk last night.

James Blunt and Plan B have joined this year’s Newmarket Nights line-up.

Police are at the scene of a crash on the A1071 near Hintlesham this evening. Updates here.

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