A 102-year-old woman in France has had her life insurance policy cancelled despite having paid for it for 37 years with the company refusing to offer her a new one as she is ‘too old’.
Jacqueline (the woman’s surname has not been released) took out her life insurance policy in November 1986, when she was 65. Her policy was with la Caisse interprofessionnelle de prévoyance des cadres, which has since rebranded as Malakoff Humanis.
Yet, in 2021, the company cancelled the policy, saying she had lived through the years that it covered. It then said that it could not offer her a new policy as she was too old to qualify.
Now, the woman’s family, who say they are “very upset”, has gone public with the problem and is considering taking the company to court.
Jacqueline’s grandson, Nicolas, told Le Parisien: “All [this time] only for them to cancel her guarantee, three decades later. It’s shameful.”
The Malakoff Humanis underwriter, UNMI, said that it had cancelled the policy “in good and due time”. However, the family has said that when it asked the company to offer Jacqueline “an equivalent guarantee”, it turned them down. Over email, the company wrote: “Unfortunately, we cannot offer term life cover.”
“Obviously, for them, it's not worth signing a life insurance policy for a 102-year-old woman who, in their eyes, isn't going to contribute enough to make it profitable!” said Nicolas.
And yet, Jacqueline had been paying for her previous life insurance policy for 37 years before it was cancelled.
Malakoff Humanis said that it cannot comment on a specific situation, but stated: “We have conditions for signing up. As with other insurers, you have to take out life insurance with us before you are 70, with cover until the age of 80.”
The company said that life insurance is intended for death from ‘unexpected’ reasons, such as a car accident, and not simply old age. It argued that a life insurance policy is always “a non-repayable contribution”.
“Just as when you take out car or home insurance, you pay for it but you may never have a claim,” it said.
In Jacqueline's case, the amount of money her now-cancelled policy would have paid out in the event of her death amounted to 22,500 francs, or €4,192. She paid €251 per year since 1986, which amounts to a total of €8,785, twice as much as the cover would have provided in the event of her death.
Nicolas has accused Malakoff Humanis of “a lack of honesty [and] humanity”. “They even have the word ‘humanis’ in their company name, which is just the last straw,” he said. “We hope to force them to come up with a solution.”
So far, despite the case being referred to the insurance ombudsman le médiateur de la Mutualité française, no solution has been found.
Nicolas is now considering taking the case to court, on the basis of article 1103 of the code civil. This states that the two parties can only “be released from their obligations by mutual agreement”
And yet, he said that he is not hopeful. He said: “Given my grandmother's advanced age, the court proceedings would be long and tedious. The company knows this and is taking advantage of us.”