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Dying man denied life insurance payout by Legal and General

Patrick Christys
Mar 13, 2019

A terminally ill man with just 12 months to live has had to fight tooth and nail to get his life insurance to pay out.

Paul Webb, a father-of-one, was planning to spend the £200,000 payment on making memories with his family in the short time he has left.

But Legal and General refused to cough up. They said Paul, who suffers from interstitial lung disease, could actually have another four or five years left if he got a lung transplant.

But this is nonsense as there's no guarantee that Paul will actually get a transplant, and many ill people tragically die while they wait for their name to work its way up the transfer list.

One of Paul's respiratory specialists also said that he could have even less than 12 months to live, as even just a basic chest infection could be seriously detrimental to his health.

Legal and General said:  'We do not dispute the severity of your illness. However, the opinion of the doctors who are treating you suggests that initially life expectancy was one to two years without a lung transplant and you were prioritised for an early lung transplant.'

It added: 'While we recognise not everyone on a transplant waiting list will be successful, we have to consider that there is a potential for a transplant.

'Therefore the doctors who are treating you, our medical officer and the third medical expert are all unable to confirm a definite life expectancy prognosis of less than 12 months at this time.'

The latest figures show that in a year, 65 people either died while waiting or came off the list because they were too ill. One of Paul's respiratory specialists said in a letter: 'It is difficult to predict prognosis in interstitial lung diseases.' 

Paul eventually got the pay out, after The Daily Mail really put the squeeze on Legal and General.

But the whole fiasco cost him valuable time he could have spent with his family.

Paul said: 'It has been handled in a disgusting way. 

'I feel that Legal & General was using the lung transplant as a get-out clause. Three months when you've only got 12 is a long time and patients should never be treated like this.'

But this isn't an isolated injury in the health insurance world. 

One woman was denied a payout under serious illness benefit as she had allowed her husband's life support to be withdrawn 13 days after a stroke to donate his organs.

Legal & General says it has 'every sympathy' with Paul, but its policy requires the treating specialist and its own medical officer to agree life expectancy is less than 12 months.

A spokesman adds: 'If a customer is on a waiting list that will extend their life beyond 12 months, the circumstances would not usually meet the terms of our policy definition.

'If the treating specialist and our medical officer agree an individual's condition is changing, they may agree a life expectancy of less than 12 months.'

An Association of British Insurers spokesman says: 'Nearly all (97 per cent) of life insurance, critical illness and income protection claims are paid, with insurers paying out nearly £14 million every day on these policies to help families cope financially at a very distressing time.'

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