I apologise to my overseas readers, as this post only relates to the UK. However, it is vitally important so I do need to raise the issue.
I took out a Permanent Health Insurance policy (PHI) in 1992. I took it out through a registered insurance broker as my local government employers didn’t offer PHI policies. PHI offers a partial income if you ever become too unwell to work. Thank God I had one, because when I did become too ill to work the weekly state sickness benefit was £54 which didn’t even cover my mortgage (I wasn’t entitled to housing benefit, which is only given to people who rent their homes for reasons I don’t understand). The PHI ended when I reached 60 because that was the retirement age for women in 1992. All PHI policies end at 60 for women or 65 for men because it is an insurance for working age people to cover loss of earnings (you can choose for the policy to cease before that age, but not after it).
Fast forward to 2011. The Government, in their wisdom, raised the retirement age for women from 60 to 67. If I’d had a PHI policy through my employer, and was still employed, my insurance would simply have increased its term to reflect the new retirement age. However, I am not employed. I am claiming on my policy. And my insurers flat out refuse to increase the term, which means I’m going to have 7 years with no income between the age of 60 and 67. Blatant discrimination being shown between healthy working people and sick, non-working people.
I took the issue up with my insurers who told me to basically get stuffed. I can’t blame them. It’s not their fault the government has changed the goal posts, and if they need to pay my insurance for another 7 years it’s going to cost them tens of thousands of pounds. Multiply this by every other claimant on their books and we’re talking serious cash.
I contacted HM Treasury, in charge of regulating the insurance industry. Their reply was that if I felt my policy had been mis-sold I should take it up with the Financial Ombudsman. I kind’ve wanted to scream. My policy had not been mis-sold and had been fine, thank you very much, until the Government raise the retirement age and put the kibosh on it.
Next, I got my MP involved who wrote to HM Treasury on my behalf. He received the same reply about mis-selling as I did. I told him it was unacceptable and he is currently trying again.
In the meantime, I contacted the Financial Conduct Authority who regulates the conduct of the insurance industry. I received a reply saying that if I’m unhappy with my policy I should take the matter up with the Financial Ombudsman. They missed the point of my correspondence entirely. Arrrghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The point of this post is to forewarn anyone in the UK with a PHI policy taken out pre-2011 to look at the terms. If it ends at 60 leave me a brief message on here and I’ll email you. If I get enough people I’m thinking of setting up a Facebook group and tackling the authorities on it. But I can’t do it alone. PLEASE PLEASE share this post on any platform you can, no matter what the illness, whether sick or well. Anyone with a PHI policy taken out pre-2011 needs to check it because you’ll probably find it ends when you’re 60 and has not been extended to the new retirement age of 67. If you (or a spouse) took out a policy pre-2011 and it HAS been extended to the new retirement age of 67 I also need to hear from you, particularly if you are still employed! I need to be able to show that people are being treated differently in order to prove discrimination.