A British man who was told he would have to cancel his life insurance policy due to Brexit has now been informed he can keep the policy after more than a year of uncertainty.
Teddy Bagnell, 89, was one of many British Aviva clients living in France who received a letter saying the company could no longer maintain their life cover as, post-Brexit, French regulations do not allow them to make changes to policies, such as raising premiums following periodic reviews.
Mr Bagnell and his wife took out the policy in the 1980s, and it was due to pay out £65,000 on second death.
Cash-in value would be zero
He was told that despite 30 years of paying in, the cash-in value would be zero.
Mr Bagnell lodged a complaint with Aviva in January 2022.
Eight months later, Aviva replied to say it had done nothing wrong.
“I said ‘Please give me the legal precedent for cancelling the policy and keeping all the premiums’.
By Christmas I hadn’t received an answer, so I emailed a letter to Aviva’s CEO.
“I wrote a polite but strong letter, saying to please instruct your customer care department to use their energies to work out a solution, rather than throwing a lot of old, vulnerable people under the bus.”
This time, he received a quick response, offering two options.
“They suddenly discovered they could transfer my policy to my daughter in England, so it would not come under French law.
Or my wife and I, who are trustees, could resign and appoint new trustees in England.
This is what we did, and the policy can carry on exactly as it was before.”
For the retired soldier, who lives in Lot-et-Garonne, it means an end to the sleepless nights, and it could give others hope.
An Aviva spokesperson told The Connexion: “We understand that it may be possible to assign an existing policy (including those policies under trust) from someone resident in France to a person based in the UK.
There are various ways in which an assignment can take place and we strongly suggest that any customers resident in France wishing to use these options seek independent financial and legal advice to ensure the solution meets their requirements.”
They said cancelled policies cannot be reinstated in this way as this “would put Aviva in breach of French laws”.