Coutts travel insurance-row pensioner takes cause online

New website seeks justice for cancer sufferers discriminated against because of their condition

Travel Insurance News - 14/09/2009

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Ron Phillips, from Wokingham Berkshire, who won a discrimination battle against the Queen's bank Coutts, has now taken his cause online, to support other travellers who find themselves facing similar discrimination.

The bank withdrew insurance cover from the 78-year-old pensioner, after he was found to be suffering from cancer earlier this year. Phillips had secured the insurance when booking a cruise in July last year, by using his gold account card.

When Phillips was diagnosed with cancer in May, Coutts stipulated that it could no longer extend the insurance cover, citing policy terms. The bank has since admitted its mistake and went on to offer the pensioner full coverage. The bank said the flaw in its terms and conditions that had led to the error was being rectified, and that the revisions would be sent to customers in early 2010.

"We were originally unable to cover Mr Phillips' condition under the terms of his policy," Coutts said. "However, after careful review we have agreed to provide full cover under his existing policy due to the unique circumstances and nature of his case.'

Phillips has now launched a website, welivewithcancer., to help other cancer sufferers who encounter discrimination from travel insurers. The website received 4,000 hits within days of its launch.

Around 20 cases concerning cancer sufferers denied travel insurance are registered every month. In about half the cases, the Financial Ombudsman, which investigates these complaints, ruled in favour of the customers.

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