Application Form Tick-Boxes – Be Aware of the Dangers!
Posted on 7th December 2021 at 20:39
The recent case of Billane v Financial Services Ombudsman & RSA Insurance highlights the dangers of indulging in a box ticking exercise when applying for any form of insurance, credit or filling in hospital forms.
In this particular case Mr. & Mrs Billane took out an Insurance Policy with RSA in 2014. Two of the questions on the Policy were: -
1) Did you have a claim within the previous 3 years? (To which they answered no).
2) Do you live within 100 metres of a water source? (To which they answered no).
Unfortunately, they had had a claim for flooding some 2 years and 10 months previously and lived within 100 metres of a river.
Some 5 months later they were burgled. The Insurance company refused liability for the burglary on the basis that the answers to the questions about flooding were incorrect. The Billanes took the case to the Insurance Ombudsman who agreed with the insurance company and they then appealed that decision to the High Court and the High Court Judge also agreed with the insurance company.
He made some interesting comments: -
A person who indicates that they have read terms cannot later rely on their failure to read those terms as the sole reason why those terms should not apply to them.
The same applies when it comes to not reading policy documentation when received.
In the insurance context, when an insurance company is dependant on a proposer to state the circumstances in such a way that the insurer can duly assess the risk presenting, it is important that a proposer take care in stating accurately the state of affairs.
When assumptions are prominently and expressly brought to a client’s attention in the policy documentation, they should contact the insurer if there is any incorrect information in the Policy.
It is very important that when you are applying for insurance, filling in medical forms or doing any exercise on computers which require box ticking, that you carefully consider what it is you are saying and how it will be accepted by the other side.
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