Brantham: Support growing for insurance payout bid

A CAMPAIGN to convince an insurance company to honour a �100,000 payout to a Suffolk widow and her twin sons is gaining momentum at a staggering rate.

In just a matter of days nearly 50,000 people – including several well-known names such as Stephen Fry and Miranda Hart – have given their backing to the family of Nic Hughes, a successful graphic designer and lecturer who died in October aged 44.

Mr Hughes left behind a wife Susannah Hancock and twin eight-year-old sons who live in Brantham, near Manningtree.

He had taken out an insurance policy with Friends Life in good faith, convinced that he had given full disclosure and that Friends Life had carried out all the necessary pre-policy checks.

But Mr Hughes’s friends and family have been devastated to discover that Friends Life have refused to honour his critical illness policy and make payment to his widow and children.

Friends Life cite two pieces of information in Mr Hughes’s medical records which they say should have been declared by him and this entitles them to cancel the policy for non-disclosure and avoid making payment.

Mr Hughes died of cancer of the gall bladder, a disease which was totally unrelated to the alleged non-disclosure of pins-and-needles or an occasion where his GP told him to watch his drinking.

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Kester Brewin, a close friend of Mr Hughes, said Friends Life’s chief executive had been invited to meet the family to talk over the issue and reach a resolution.

“We hope that they will do the right thing,” he said. “We’ve invited the chief executive to meet the family to end this dispute without the need for legal process.

“It would be great for Friends Life to do the right thing, in the time of bonus season in the financial industry, and give justice to the family. This isn’t a sympathy case – they are being outrageous in their treatment. It’s morally repugnant.”

An online petition urging Friends Life to reconsider its stance on the matter is now just a tiny fraction away from the 50,000 signatures it is seeking.

The organisers, including Mr Brewin, have also been conducting a high-profile social media campaign to raise awareness of Mr Hughes’s case through Nic’s Fight and thousands of digital “postcards” have been sent via email to Friends Life – causing their inbox to crash yesterday.

A spokesman for Friends Life said: “We are aware of the current social media activity and the case in question continues to be a priority for senior management. We are listening and fully understand the sentiment around these difficult circumstances.

“However, when we consider an application for critical illness cover, we need to have full disclosure of all conditions and their symptoms so that we can properly assess the case. It is clear in this case that medical symptoms were not disclosed in response to detailed questions on the application form which, had we been aware of them, would have meant we could not offer cover.

“The resolution of this case is a private matter for the family involved. As such, we have continued to liaise with them directly during this difficult time and whilst we look for a fast-track response to this case from the Financial Ombudsman. We will abide by any decision that the Ombudsman makes.”

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