Halifax life-long policy misled pet insurance customers

| March 28, 2012 | 0 Comments
Halifax life-long policy misled pet insurance customers

The Halifax has been found by the Financial Ombudsman Service to have misled customers by offering life-long pet insurance.

Halifax, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, announced its decision to withdraw from the pet insurance market at the end of last year.

The Ombudsman’s ruling follows a complaint by the owners of a dog called Lucky, who suffers from a skin complaint which costs around £500 each year to treat.

The cost of treatment was covered by a Halifax life-long policy taken out by Lucky’s owners in 2005, as long as it was renewed annually.

However, when the Halifax stopped offering pet insurance, Lucky’s owners were unable to take out a new policy with a different insurance provider to cover the cost of the treatment, as pre-existing conditions are excluded from new policies.

The Ombudsman has now ruled that the Halifax must offer Lucky’s owner another 3 years of cover, as well as £200 in compensation.

Ombudsman Tony Boorman said: “The description of the policy as “life-long” seems to me to be a significant error by Halifax.”

The Halifax must also top-up any replacement insurance taken out by Lucky’s owners, for a period of three years.

It is believed that around 4,000 Halifax Insurance customers could be entitled to compensation following the ruling.

Meanwhile new research by The Co-operative Pet Insurance found that 47 per cent of couples who buy a pet conceive their first child within a year of doing so.

40 per cent of the couples surveyed said they expected to have a baby in their home within a year of bringing a pet into their home and 10 per cent said they though looking after a pet would improve their parenting skills.

Lee Mooney, head of Pet Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: ”Our findings show that for many couples pet ownership can be the first stage of starting a family.”

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