Is FA too harsh a judge of bancassurers?

Tony Laverick

Your lead article (FA, 6 Nov) claimed that a family faced ruin because of a switched CI policy that did not pay out following a heart attack, to repay a loan taken for debt consolidation and a conservatory.

Now, I am no fan of bancassurers, but the facts reported did not justify the negative headline. The Fos, having compared the wordings of both cancelled and replacement policies, could not find any reason to support the claim, given the individual’s family history of heart problems. I do not know if that was code for something more severe but readers were left uncertain as to whether the original policy would have paid or rejected the claim. Was this really an item worthy of your front page? Was it even mis-selling?

You then compounded this mis-reporting, inside the same edition, with another headline of a woman facing eviction after her father was ‘mis-sold’ an equity release policy. Again, the facts did not support this negative headline as you reported the lady in question had actually given up her own home to move into her father’s house, long after the gentleman involved had entered care. This was also after she had rented the property out and was aware that this breached the mortgage conditions. You reported her dismay at the £70,000 repayment required, which she described as just “a fraction of the value”, yet no mention of what the £35,000 released eight years earlier had been used for.

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While I have some sympathy for the plight that the people concerned find themselves in, both have an element of self-harm and, in one case apparently, greed. By all means crucify the guilty when the facts support this, but do not hang the innocent. I cannot see why either case warranted such negative headlines, which can only damage financial services and discourage others from doing the right thing.

Tony Laverick

Chartered financial planner, Anders Bayley Scott , Cobham, Surrey