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panicburg
I am in need of a bit of help and advise.

My wife has recently had her car stolen. The vehicle was subsequently found and, as the little herbert that stole it didnt manage to get through two days worth of driving before causing damage to it. The Insurance company (churchill) have written the car off.

The Insurance policy is in my wife's name and i am on the policy as a second driver. I can honestly say that i have not driven her car for about 3 years.
The Insurance company (after getting a copy of my licence) have now said that because i have since recieved speeding fines and that they were not informed of this the policy is void. They did however say that if i paid the difference (£462.00 for the last few years) they will reopen my case.


Can anyone help with the legal side of this. Can they ask for the money back dated over the 3years? How was i supposed to know i was to disclose the fact that i had received a few speeding tickets to them if they never asked me to. Ie:- I have never recieved any correspondence from Churchill and therefore have never been informed that i was meant to let them know. I am not the Policy holder and therefore dont get sent anything from them. My wife was not awhere of how many points i have, and when i got them so therefore could not be held responsible for not telling them.

I am worried that even if i pay them the £462 which i really cant afford. the still could turn around with some other problem later.

Please, Please help if you can.

Thanks

Ed.
MartinHP71
QUOTE (panicburg @ Thu, 15 Oct 2009 - 19:45) *
I am not the Policy holder and therefore dont get sent anything from them. My wife was not awhere of how many points i have, and when i got them so therefore could not be held responsible for not telling them.


You wife holds the policy and each year she will have received renewal documentation which includes confirming the details are correct (which would have included you as a named driver on the policy) so the insurance company will say she broke the contract by not informing them of your offences. They would argue that it was her responsibility to be truthful and open an honest with them as they will look at any and every way to not payout (as you have found to your cost)

As to paying them the backdated monies, then yes they put this as a condition but it doesn't guarantee they will pay out so its a risk you will have to take.

Sorry but there isn't an easy fix on this one, its the insurance industry and they make up alot of their own rules.
panicburg
thank you for your swift response.

the fact that my wife did not know about the details of my licence and the points i have (which i am hoping might be a loophole), she can therefore honestly say she was not in a position to tell them them something she did not know. the insurance company cannot say that i should have informed them or her because they have not informed me of this.

as for retrospectivly charging us for previous years. Surley this is errelevnt. I will offer to pay the current extra amount and see what happens.

quote from Ombardsman site.

The new General Insurance Standards Council Code includes a commitment that members will ‘explain your [policyholder’s] duty to give insurers information before cover begins and during the policy, and what may happen if you do not’. This might be seen as going further in implying an obligation on customers than we normally consider to be reasonable. However, evidence from the Committee report suggests this is not a commitment which is well observed at present by insurers and intermediaries.

Policyholders frequently assert that they failed to disclose information because they genuinely did not appreciate it was required by the insurer. Alternatively, they may have followed an intermediary’s advice when completing a proposal form. We do not always accept such assertions, but the evidence of the Committee suggests that many intermediaries and insurers fail to comply with the requirements of the Codes. In these circumstances, unless firms can demonstrate having used reasonable endeavours to ensure compliance, we may be rather more inclined to support the policyholder’s position in such cases than we have done in the past.

panicburg
Just a note

By saying I have to pay them £462 to keep the claim going are they saying:

Give me £462 and we will forget about previous inconsistencies. It smacks of blackmail?
MartinHP71
QUOTE (panicburg @ Thu, 15 Oct 2009 - 21:15) *
Just a note

By saying I have to pay them £462 to keep the claim going are they saying:

Give me £462 and we will forget about previous inconsistencies. It smacks of blackmail?


I don't know the exact words they used. If they said give us the money and we will continue looking at your claim it is not the same as saying we shall pay it, just that we will look at it. you need to get in writing what they are offering if you pay them the back payments.

I honestly don't think the route of your wife not knowing will wash with the insurance company. Whatever you say it would be reasonable for a wife to know that her husband has points on his licence and therefore the insurance company should be told, and whilst you can argue that right or wrong it will fall down to the what the insurance company wants to do and if they want to use it as a get out claus they will.

The bottom line is that this is a business will DO NOT want to pay out money if they can help it and whilst they have an Ombuseman I wouldn't rate your chances of winning on that score.

Finally how much is the car worth ?
Durzel
Even if your wife somehow didn't know about your convictioos it would be her responsibility as policyholder to do the necessary diligence come renewal to ensure that changes in insurance preconditions are disclosed. Insurance companies ask how many convictions you/named drivers have as part of the quote process so a reasonable individual would therefore expect that information (and changes to it) to have some bearing on the policy.

She might possibly have had a get-out if you had just received some points recently and until this incident it was the first she had been told of them, but not finding out & disclosing them over the course of 3 years? No chance I'm afraid.
murphcbr6
QUOTE (panicburg @ Thu, 15 Oct 2009 - 21:15) *
Just a note

By saying I have to pay them £462 to keep the claim going are they saying:

Give me £462 and we will forget about previous inconsistencies. It smacks of blackmail?



It sounds to me like your insurers are being more than reasonable here. We all know that insurance companies base their premiums largely on the risk level you pose. It is not unreasonable to suggest that people with points on their license pose a greater risk than those without.

Your wife failed to inform them of your points thereby escaping an increased premium over the last three years. The responsibility for disclosure is your wife's not the insurance companies.

The insurers would be well within their rights to void the policy for non-disclosure. However, despite no obligation on their part to do so, they seem to have taken an even-handed approach here by recognising that your points have no bearing on the circumstances of this particular claim and have offered you the chance to make the "back-payments" and keep your policy active.
redloner
QUOTE (panicburg @ Thu, 15 Oct 2009 - 20:20) *
thank you for your swift response.

the fact that my wife did not know about the details of my licence and the points i have (which i am hoping might be a loophole), she can therefore honestly say she was not in a position to tell them them something she did not know. the insurance company cannot say that i should have informed them or her because they have not informed me of this.

as for retrospectivly charging us for previous years. Surley this is errelevnt. I will offer to pay the current extra amount and see what happens.

quote from Ombardsman site.

The new General Insurance Standards Council Code includes a commitment that members will ‘explain your [policyholder’s] duty to give insurers information before cover begins and during the policy, and what may happen if you do not’. This might be seen as going further in implying an obligation on customers than we normally consider to be reasonable. However, evidence from the Committee report suggests this is not a commitment which is well observed at present by insurers and intermediaries.

Policyholders frequently assert that they failed to disclose information because they genuinely did not appreciate it was required by the insurer. Alternatively, they may have followed an intermediary’s advice when completing a proposal form. We do not always accept such assertions, but the evidence of the Committee suggests that many intermediaries and insurers fail to comply with the requirements of the Codes. In these circumstances, unless firms can demonstrate having used reasonable endeavours to ensure compliance, we may be rather more inclined to support the policyholder’s position in such cases than we have done in the past.

You should note the General Insurance Standards Council's responsibilities ended when the FSA took over the regulation of general insurance on 14 January 2005. In addition, the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau was absorbed into the expanded Financial Services Ombudsman scheme at a similar time.

Failure to disclose material facts is sufficient for the Insurer to void the contract. It seems Churchill is taking a reasonable approach in allowing you to pay the increased premiums for the period in question. Ask yourself what is the write-off value of the vehicle and how much would you lose given any excess and the premium backpayments. Is it worth it?

The only way I see a complaint being upheld is if your wife's policy documentation does not place her under a duty of ongoing disclosure of any change in the material facts affecting the risk, nor is/was she specifically requested to check the accuracy of the information she submitted at renewal time.

Frankly, insurance is expensive, particularly if you don't get out of it what you should. Never give an Insurer a chance to welch on a claim because of something you failed to tell them.
The Last Minute
If the £462 isn't paid and the policy is voided, is this the same as have a policy cancelled? i.e. when the OP (or his wife) gets a new quote and they are asked have they ever had insurance cancelled, will they have to say "yes"? If so, I would imagine this would have quite an affect on the premium.

Worth considering before having the policy voided.

TLM
V70owner
Never been in this situation, but a couple of thoughts. I hope some of those regulars with some legal standing can cover this.

If they are asking you to pay the extra money are they not implying that you would have been correctly insured so therefore the claim would be valid? OR is there a chance that if you do not pay it they will argue the policy was void so your wife would have been driving without insurance for the last 3 years.

Also interested to know if it was your wife's car and her policy with you as a named driver, and you don't drive it, is it common for company's to ask for the licenses of all those named on a policy before preceding with a claim, even if they have nothing to do with the car for years. My wife's car was shunted in a hospital car park some years ago, with witnesses about. Insurance company dealt with it no problem. They never asked for any info from me even though I have been named on her policy all our married life - some 16 years. Interestingly we're with the same company so it would seem something has changed in the way they deal with claims, or is there any more to this story (sorry, just asking - honest)

And I can understand your wife not knowing. I'm named on my wife's policy and she is named on mine. If I ever did get done for speeding then I would obviously notify my insurance, but I'm not sure I'd want her knowing - it's a pride thing you see - she's been done once many years ago and I still rib her about it to this day (tell her I'm a better driver than her - she's waiting for the day I get a NIP biggrin.gif )
2020Hindsight
There may be some mileage in an appeal to the ombudsman. Your convictions do not increase the risk of theft of the vehicle.
They would have a reasonable claim had you been driving, as they were not fully aware of any risk you might pose as a driver. With the vehicle being stolen the failure to disclose the points is not a 'material fact' to that claim.
murphcbr6
QUOTE (2020Hindsight @ Fri, 16 Oct 2009 - 18:08) *
There may be some mileage in an appeal to the ombudsman. Your convictions do not increase the risk of theft of the vehicle.
They would have a reasonable claim had you been driving, as they were not fully aware of any risk you might pose as a driver. With the vehicle being stolen the failure to disclose the points is not a 'material fact' to that claim.



Without seeing the Ts&Cs for this specific policy, I suspect the argument from the insurance company is not that the failure to disclose points voids the claim, but that it voids the policy in its entirety, thereby releasing the insurer from the contract.

re the earlier post about "not being asked for license details" It is entirely possible that following your submission of a claim the insurer ran all the named drivers through a DVLA license check and your name pinged back as having points, that will be why they asked you to provide your license (i.e. they just wanted you to confirm what they already knew.)


If you take your case to the ombudsman (FSA), I suspect you would first have to reject the company's offer for you to make amends by paying the outstanding premium levy. (The insurer may well withdraw the offer at this point anyway)

Any hearing to decide the fairness of the situation would then take into account that the insurers had offered you the chance to re-instate your policy but that you had refused. This may well count againsst you, as usually this kind of hearing is about encouraging agreement through mediation rather than making rulings.

That said, you have nothing to lose by sending a letter in offering to pay 1 years worth of outstanding premiums rather than the full three years worth. The worst that can happen is that they refuse. Be very careful not to threaten them with legal action or try to imply that they are acting unfairly etc.
redloner
QUOTE (murphcbr6 @ Fri, 16 Oct 2009 - 18:18) *
If you take your case to the ombudsman (FSA), I suspect you would first have to reject the company's offer for you to make amends by paying the outstanding premium levy. (The insurer may well withdraw the offer at this point anyway)

Yes. A referral to the FOS is only possible when the Insurer's complaints procedure is exhausted and a settlement cannot be reached.
mickR
Panicburg i haven't read all the posts but i would think the insurance co could get really shirty about this which could affect both your and your wifes future ins premiums and even cause you to be refused ins. this could be devastating for you both Whether or not they settle this claim. I have posted in another topic about Ins Cos clamping down on what they term as fraud IE parents fronting siblings policies undisclosed convictions etc. and as they share if they will ask questions they already know the answers to if you say something to the contrary you are in trouble.
I agree they are "blackmailing" you but for 400 odd quid it could save you thousands in future premiums.
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