Life InsuranceFeb 14 2023

Sun Life UK direct debit errors continue

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Sun Life UK direct debit errors continue
'They claim the lack of payment of my premiums has not affected my investments, but they have not been provided premiums to invest,' said one policyholder (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Sun Life UK is still failing to collect some policyholders' life insurance premiums 16 months after accounting errors first occurred, which left customers in hundreds of pounds of debt.

The closed book business, which was bought by Phoenix Life last year from Sun Life Financial, had failed to collect about 50 clients' monthly insurance premiums by August last year.

Despite telling FTAdviser it was working to resolve direct debit issues, and racking up at least 18 Financial Ombudsman Service complaints, Sun Life UK policyholders are still being landed with debt.

One policyholder, who asked to remain anonymous, had a policy with Sun Life UK due to mature in June this year.

But after checking his finances last month, he noticed that premiums on the policy had not been collected since August 2022 - the month FTAdviser first reported the accounting errors.

We are working hard to put things right and recover service to our previous high levels.Sun Life UK

This has left him with £673.74 in outstanding payments, based on a monthly premium of £112.29.

He said: "Sun Life UK want in reality a year's premiums over six months in a cost of living crisis.

"They only want to communicate via letter, which is difficult to do in a postal strike.

"They continue to charge administration and management fees on policies that they are clearly not managing properly.

"And they claim the lack of payment of my premiums has not affected my investments, but they have not been provided premiums to invest."

The client had not received a letter from Sun Life UK saying there was a problem, despite the company saying it had contacted clients about the issue last year.

This client called the life insurer at the beginning of January. He was told it had upgraded its computer system in November 2021 and that it had had issues with direct debit payments as a result ever since.

The policyholder facing £673.74 in outstanding payments has filed a complaint with Sun Life UK.

Sun Life UK has previously confirmed it migrated clients to a new computer system, but did not provide any timelines.

As of last month, the provider was playing the following automated message: "We are still experiencing disruption to our service and are unable to respond as quickly as usual. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you.

"We are working hard to recover service to our previous high levels. We are doing our best to reply to post and emails within five to 10 working days and concentrating our efforts to make sure we pay customers as a priority."