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Insurance policy assumptions


Insurance policy assumptions

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BenS
BenS
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Hi Pinkfur,

You do not have to disclose any spent convictions for insurance purposes.

Insurance companies are not exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and therefore have no right to ask about spent convictions. They would also be breaking the law if they refused a policy/claim due to a spent conviction. The question should specify spent convictions, rather than just any convictions.

Legally, for the purpose of filling in an insurance form, you have no convictions.

I would recommend contacting Unlock and getting them to contact the insurance company in question to tell them that they have no legal right to ask this question and that they must change its wording.
BenS
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Pinkfur, I understand what you mean as they are technically forcing you to lie, even though you are totally legally entitled to do so. It's not nice to be put in an uncomfortable situation like that when you are not breaking the law.

In the event that you had to make a claim and somehow they found out about your spent conviction, and they did not pay out based on said conviction, they would be contravening the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and you could take legal action against them, either simply to get the claim paid out or to have them punished for breaking the ROA, or both. If they replied that you told them that you had no convictions, then you would answer that that is the legal truth because the insurer is not exempt under the ROA, so you are entitled to say this and it is only due to their (at best negligent, at worst illegal) question that you answered in this way.
BenS
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Hi Pineapple Thief,

Of course all you say is true, but in this case it seems the OP has no unspent convictions, and the insurer is asking about all convictions, which it has no right to do and is bloody bad form.

Sure, failing to disclose an unspent conviction when asked is an offence. But in this case the OP has only a spent conviction and so is legally protected by the ROA and does not need to disclose it. It would be the insurer committing an offence for denying service based on a spent conviction.

I'm sure insurers have expensive legal advisors and I'm sure they know what they're doing when they omit to add the word "unspent" to the question about convictions. They are trying to scare people with spent convictions into declaring them (when they absolutely should not have to) so that their premium will be more expensive.

For my two cents, I think anyone who asks about spent convictions for no good reason (i.e. not ROA-exempt) should be convicted, so they can see what it's like having a conviction and can understand why the ROA is sacrosanct and makes people incredibly angry when they are pressured to declare convictions that they have no legal obligation to disclose.

I honestly believe most companies who wrongly omit "unspent" are fully aware of what they're doing, it's not an innocent accident, recruiters and HR departments know all about the ROA and are lying if they claim not to know about spent and unspent convictions and their right to ask about them.

Post Edited (BenS) : 13/06/2016 09:24:48 (GMT+2)


BenS
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Pineapple Thief (or anyone else who knows),

I understand what you mean and correct me if I'm wrong, but - policy assumptions or not - I thought insurance companies were not entitled to know about spent convictions because they're not exempt from the ROA.

If insurers are not allowed to know about spent convictions, then why should they make assumptions based on them? It looks like they are trying to wriggle their way around the ROA and they should be told that this is not on.

If someone not exempt from the ROA asks you about unspent convictions (which they're not allowed to do), and you have a spent conviction but not an unspent one, then to my knowledge you have a legal right to answer "no", because they have no legal right to ask/know. Apologies if this is not the case and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
BenS
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Insurance companies are sharks, I have found them to be the most unethical and unscrupulous businesses I have ever come into contact with as a normal client.

You could argue that almost any home is used for "business purposes" depending on how you interpret it. Like if you bring a few work papers home with you once in a blue moon. Personally, unless it really is a home office or you operate a business out of your home (i.e. it's business premises with employees coming and going), I would ignore it. They make the wording deliberately vague so that they can get out of paying a claim.

In the meantime, hopefully Unlock can get onto them to inform them that they are potentially breaking the law and should get the convictions phrase reworded to "has no unspent criminal convictions". Adding cautions is even worse, as they are spent immediately, it is disgraceful and there is no reason or right whatsoever to include that.

If your conviction is spent then you have no convictions for the purpose of insurance.
BenS
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You're right, doug. There is no link between having a conviction and being a greater insurance risk. They simply ask because they can (for unspent only of course) and because it gives them an excuse to charge more. They don't care about the circumstances, it's an opportunity for more money. Simple as that. Personally I think insurers should be forbidden from asking about convictions (unless it's motoring convictions for car insurance) as there is no link, but it is not illegal so they will do it to get more money.
Pinkfur
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Ben

It's the way they phrase these statements as if I tick the box, I am saying I have NEVER been convicted, which of course is untrue. If they had asked "Do you have any unspent convictions?" I could say no, without worrying, as that is true!

It is unlikely I will have to make a claim, as I have never done so in 15 years (tempting fate now), but who knows?

I could find another company but usually I would need a subscription (fitness) to their service in order to get their insurance, and have since cancelled my subscriptions with two companies recently due to financial reasons.

I may just go with the same one then and tick that I have NEVER been convicted.
Pinkfur
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Hi.
Just trying to renew public liability insurance which have had with same company for the last couple of years. Doing it online and this statement has appeared which needs a tick or not. I don't remember seeing this before but I assume it was displayed last time, as seems to be standard. My conviction was spent last August. I did change the insurance company after conviction actually, to this one, which makes me think they are OK with convictions. If spent, do you have to declare still? It's the terminology they use for these statements or questions that make it confusing! Statement as follows:-


"I have never been convicted or charged with any criminal offence other than a motoring offence".
theoldbag
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Hi. I have a relative staying with me at the moment who has an unspent conviction for a non-contact sexual offence. I own the property and my insurance came up for its annual renewal. On filling out the form online I came up against the conviction question, to which I truthfully answered. My insurance company refused to re-insure me. After applying for endless quotes and being turned down, I eventually turned to a specialist insurance company, who I phoned. Over the phone I was asked details of the conviction, which I honestly answered. I was told by a woman that she'd need to get more information and would call me back straight away. i waited 40mins and phoned her back. She then asked me questions that I feel are totally irrelevant - eg: how many images were looked at? was the person in employment? I was then told that I would have to wait until Monday morning (today) for them to give me a quote as the Underwriters were not available, no one has phoned back.

I have since been given a quote (which is nearly £250 more than I'd paid for last years insurance) from another specialist insurance company.

My question is: Are these questions 'normal procedure'? If not, I feel strongly I'd like to lodge a complaint against the Insurance company (which incidentally is on the list of Insurers recommended by Unlock). I believe I am personally being persecuted and as someone said previously, after all, it's the house that's being insured, not me or my relative.....
theoldbag
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BenS. Thank you for your response. As a follow up, I've talked to my local CAB legal advisor and he's keen for the CAB on a National level to follow up the maltreatment by Insurers (and other financial areas) towards ex offenders. Too late for me, but after all the hassle I've had over the last few months i really hope this discrimination is brought to light and dealt with.
GO


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