1 EAGLETON NOTES: Banks and Insurance



Thursday 7 August 2008

Banks and Insurance

I have spent the last few days trying to sort out bank account problems and insurance. I suppose it's my own fault to some extent for having so many bank accounts and actually wanting to be insured and honest about my declarations. One of the few things which sank into what passes for my brain when I read law was that contracts of insurance are contracts uberrimae fedei. In plain English that means that, whether or not you have been asked by an insurance company, you must declare to it everything that could possibly be relevant when you are seeking insurance (or, indeed, if your circumstances change when you have the insurance, you must tell the Company of that change). If you don't, then an Insurer has every right to, and almost certainly will, repudiate liability in the event of a claim.

When I came home in April I tried to log online into my Royal Bank of Scotland account. I have it because despite my heart attack and cancer they had indicated that they were happy to provide me with standard travel insurance ie not for my New Zealand stay but for any other travel, including the USA. I had forgotten my pin and despite phone calls and letters and promises to sort it and telephone me it remained unsorted and I remained unphoned - since the start of June. Yesterday I made it my mission in life to sort the problem and, eventually, after about 90 minutes on the phone and with another letter to go in the post to confirm my details I was assured that the problem had been sorted.
In the meantime I looked at the many benefits that one gets with one's RBOS account, including the travel insurance. There was a letter to the effect that whilst they had not sought medical details in the past they were now doing so. I'd already made a voluntary declaration in 2006 and been accepted. I decided I'd better check and update that. What a big mistake.  I cannot believe that the Bank's public relations staff or management can have any idea at all of the unbelieveble boorish rudeness of some of their insurance staff. The long and short of it was that I was told (despite having a letter from the Bank acknowledging it) that I'd never made a declaration and was not eligible for insurance cover for any heart or cancer related situation. 

This contrasted with the wonderful, sympathetic and friendly service from P J Hayman and Travellers Health Check from whom yesterday I again bought my long-stay insurance for New Zealand with no strings attached.  Guess who will be providing me with my standard travel insurance as well in future.

So today the RBOS have lost a customer although, admittedly. not a very profitable one and a very great deal of good will.  And I wasted all that time getting access to my account on line.   And I'll never really know whether it had been sorted.   Ah well.


  1. So you are responsible for the losses of £691 million announced today? I might have known. Bloody trouble-maker.

  2. Marcel beat me to it.... I was going to ask something to the effect of whether it had all gone on phone calls to you about your PIN?

  3. There should be an opportunity to comment on one's photos that appear to the right - I've just seen Steve hugging a tree! Despite his wonderful woodwork I never envisaged Steve as the tree hugging type!


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