Grandad dying of cancer blasts insurance company who won't pay out a penny

Shaun Pinkney -Credit:Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News
Shaun Pinkney -Credit:Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News

A grandfather facing terminal cancer, who paid out life insurance premiums for 15 years, has been left devastated after learning he cannot access a life inusrance payout.

Shaun Pinkney, 53, is ineligible to make a claim due to Aviva's policy, which stipulates that individuals with terminal illnesses must have at least 18 months remaining on their plan, reports Manchester Evening News.

Despite being a father of four and a grandfather of six from Salford, Shaun cannot renew his policy due to his diagnosis. Expressing frustration, he remarked, "So, if I'd got terminal cancer six months earlier than when I was diagnosed, they would have paid out? It's absolutely ridiculous."

In April 2023, Shaun was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. A year following this diagnosis, he received a reminder of his life insurance policy from Aviva, prompting him to consider renewing the plan he had invested in for 15 years.

With the hope of enjoying "one last holiday" with his family, he contacted Aviva to renew his wife's policy and to cash out his own.

He said: "I rang Aviva up. They said 'unfortunately, because you've not got 18 months left on your contract - you've only got two months - you can't claim it. I then tried to renew the policy, but was told I couldn't because I have terminal cancer.

"The pay-out won't be worth lots, but it would have been something. I'm getting penalised for getting cancer too late. I could pass away next week. I want this sorted before I die. I'm positive and I try and carry on, but I know this is unbeatable."

Shaun was hoping to have "one last holiday" with his family -Credit:Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News
Shaun was hoping to have "one last holiday" with his family -Credit:Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News

According to Aviva, the "terminal illness benefit" permits customers to obtain an early payout from their life insurance if a medical specialist confirms that they are, regrettably, anticipated to live for fewer than 12 months after being diagnosed with a terminal condition.

They said: "This is an acceleration of the death benefit, effectively paying the death benefit early, to enable customers to put their affairs in order, rather than it being paid to the beneficiaries after death.

"Typical with many life insurance policies, the 18-month period is included to ensure that any benefit is paid while the policy is still in force'. The clause appears on page 12 of an 18-page policy conditions booklet provided to Shaun.

It's understood that in 2013, Aviva stopped selling policies in which there is a mismatch between the end of the major benefit and the expiration of the rest of the policy.

Aviva was unable to confirm whether customers with older policies had been informed about the elimination of the 18-month exclusion for the terminal illness benefit. They also couldn't clarify if customers are notified in advance of the cutoff date to advise them on potential changes or renewals, particularly as a significant aspect of their policy reaches its expiration.

The Manchester Evening News has learned that Aviva has examined Shaun's case; however, they have upheld their decision as he lacks a definitive prognosis of having 12 months left to live. Due to his overall terminal diagnosis, they have stated their inability to provide him with another policy.

Presently, Shaun's mobility is significantly limited, as he spends much of his time in a wheelchair.

Speaking about his ordeal, he said: "I've had an operation, I'm having chemotherapy, I've had a stem cell transplant. The treatment can prolong my life, but it can't cure it. This has just turned my life upside down.

"With the stem cell transplant, the cancer will hopefully go dormant for a bit, but I could wake up next year and it'll be back. I never know how long I've got. It's terminal. They only used the word when I got diagnosed because you need to know for the life insurance process. Some people can last 10 years, some can last two."

An Aviva spokesperson said: "We were very sorry to hear about Mr Pinkney's diagnosis. We understand the seriousness of his condition and appreciate that this must be a very worrying time for him.

"Life insurance is designed to provide a payment to the customer's beneficiaries if the customer dies within the policy term. terminal illness benefit is a feature that enables the customer to receive a life insurance payment early, if a medical specialist confirms that they are sadly expected to live for less than 12 months.

"While life insurance cover is available until a policy term ends, under Mr Pinkney's policy, terminal illness benefit is not payable within the final 18 months of the policy. This is explained in the documents sent to customers when they take out a policy.

"This 18-month period is included to ensure that any benefit is paid while the policy is still in force. As Mr Pinkney's diagnosis was within the last 18 months of his policy, we are unfortunately unable to pay his terminal illness benefit claim.

"Unfortunately, due to Mr Pinkney's current ill-health, we are not able to cover him on a new life insurance policy."

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