Coronavirus

Insurance firm reported to watchdog over coronavirus cancellation claims

Which? has reported insurance company, UK General Insurance, to the financial regulator, after a bride-to-be exposed “dubious tactics” used to deny claims for coronavirus wedding cancellations.

UK General Insurance is an insurance distributor backed by insurer Great Lakes, and underwrites wedding insurance for Debenhams and Dreamsavers. It also trades directly as WeddingPlan.

It advised customers individually and via WeddingPlan’s website that its policies would cover coronavirus-related cancellations or venue closures. However, Which? said many couples who bought wedding insurance policies with the firm have “since had their claims rejected”.

Which? referred to a couple who purchased a wedding insurance policy from WeddingPlan in March, after receiving written confirmation that they would be covered if the government closed the venue due to coronavirus.

However, their claim of almost £10,000 was rejected in April, because the cancellation was related to government regulation.

Which? said that while WeddingPlan shared online advice in March that it would cover cancellations caused by the “outbreak of a contagious and infectious disease” or venue closures by a “relevant authority”, it “failed” to disclose ambiguous clauses within its terms and conditions that claims would not be covered if related to “government regulations or acts” or “prohibitive regulations”.

However, Which? said neither term was clearly defined in the small print, nor was it clear if the government could be the “relevant authority”.

Jenny Ross, Which? Money Editor, said: “The persistence of one bride who refused to be given the brush-off by a big insurance company produced a damning dossier of evidence exposing how the firm exploited unclear terms and conditions to avoid paying out on claims.

“Our research suggests a pattern of UK General Insurance acting in bad faith to turn down claims, which is why we believe the financial regulator must investigate and take tough action if the firm is found to have broken the rules.”

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