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Prudential won’t pay up on our paid-up policy

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Way back in 1955, my parents both took out life insurance policies with the Prudential. In 1993 they were told by the company that the policies were “paid-up”, meaning they no longer had to pay any premiums, but the policies would remain active until their death.

Sadly my father passed away aged 93 in May this year. However, my attempt to claim the £7,250 due to my mother has been turned down. The Prudential is insisting that it must see the original policy document or proof of my father’s occupation or address – from 1955.

My mother, aged 86 and currently recovering from surgery to deal with pancreatic cancer, cannot recall where exactly they were living when they bought the policy, as with many young couples at that time they moved regularly, often renting rooms or staying with relatives. Somewhere along the way, the policy document was lost.

My mother, who is also insured and is a customer of the Pru, is the beneficiary, but the company won’t budge. It has been regularly writing to my parents at their Stevenage address since they moved there in 1964, including the latest statement of account sent in July.

Nowhere in the 1993 letter that told them the policy was paid-up does it state that they needed the original policy documents or details of my father’s employment or residence to be able to make a claim. To me, the whole thing is ridiculous. Can you help?

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PF, Hertfordshire

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Sometimes staff in big companies rather lose the plot and stop applying a little common sense – and this appears to be one of those cases. In fairness to Prudential, it quickly got on the case after I raised it. Your mother’s claim has now been approved, and a cheque is being sent to her.

“Our processes are in place to protect our customers and verify their identity. Having reviewed the circumstances, we have been able to make an exception in this case and pay her claim,” says the company, rather missing the point that your mother, too, is a customer, whose identity is well-known to the company. You are just happy that common sense has prevailed.

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