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IFSO backs adviser in misselling claim

A woman who claimed her mother was missold a life insurance policy by her adviser has had her complaint declined by the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman.

Wednesday, September 4th 2019, 10:37AM

The woman arranged an insurance policy with an investment component with her insurer in 1990.

Eight years later, when she retired, she completed an application form for a term life policy, using the conversion option from the investment policy, which meant she did not have to provide medical information for re-underwriting.

In 2001, she completed an application form to increase the life insurance cover from $60,000 to $75,000.

In 2016, the woman’s daughter asked for information on her mother’s policy. She was told that the investment policy had been surrendered and $15,000 paid by direct credit into her mother’s bank account.

The daughter complained her mother had not received the payments and was unaware the policy had changed.

She said her mother had been misled by her adviser and missold the policy, which was not suitable.

She asked for the repayment of the surrender value and for all premiums paid for both policies to be refunded.

IFSO said the insurer had not retained most of the documentation for the investment policy because it had been withdrawn so long ago.

It gave screenshots of its system notes to confirm key dates and show the withdrawal payments being paid.

It said that the payments would not be shown in the system, unless a withdrawal form had been signed.

“From the documentary evidence available, it was clear that the adviser had discussed [the client’s] personal and financial circumstances, which were listed on an insurance needs form completed by the adviser and signed by [the client],” the case manager said.

“This form did not state that one of her requirements was to have an investment component. It was also clear that the insurer had sent the term life policy document to [the client], which clearly set out the fact there was no surrender value.”

The insured argued that she would remember receiving the payments but could not prove that she had not. She could not obtain her bank records.

The IFSO case manager did not believe there was any evidence to show that the adviser had misled the client, or missold the policy. There was no basis to require a refund.

Tags: IFSO Life insurance

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