When Randall took out his whole-of-life policy, he didn't expect anything to change with it. But when the business reviewed the policy and told him he'd either have to reduce the final payout or double his contributions, he came to us.
Randall took out a whole-of-life policy to provide life assurance for his wife and children. He was happy that he'd potentially be paying premiums into this until his death.
After 10 years, the business carried out a review of the plan. They told Randall that he had a couple of options. One option was to double his contributions to maintain the same level of cover. The other was to pay the same premium amount but reduce the life cover the plan would provide.
Randall complained that he'd not been told when he took out the policy that it would be reviewed. He was also very unhappy that he was being asked to pay more money. This business said that "the potential for reviews was disclosed in the policy conditions". Randall didn't think this was fair, so came to us for help.
What we said
We looked at the paperwork that Randall had. We found that he had been given several different documents, and some of them didn't apply to his policy. Some of the paperwork gave the impression that the premiums would be 'level' in the future - rather than giving the impression that the premiums might be altered.
The potential for reviews was mentioned in the policy conditions. But from what we could see, this wasn't given prominence or clear explanation. We didn't think that it had been done in a way that Randall would have easily understood.
There was also no mention of the reviews in the rest of their correspondence.
We decided to uphold Randall's complaint. We didn't feel that there was enough evidence of the business making Randall aware of the reviews and their implications.