insurance industry

David Cunliffe upsets Chief District Court Judge

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It is very, very, VERY rare for the legal profession to take to the media. ?Part of their job is to take things silently on the chin, no matter how unfair the situation. ? Read more »

A kick in the balls and bloody nose on the way through

Yesterday’s foray into parliament didn’t go so well for the opposition.

Labour were cock-a-hoop, emboldened by the living embodiment of the new Christ figure who leads them. They were helped by an inept performance by Eric Roy.

However their much vaunted insurance policy got panned and then destroyed.

Audrey Young at the NZ Herald reports:

David Cunliffe called John Key’s question stupid, Bill English called David Cunliffe’s new state insurance company idea dumb, and Winston Peters called himself brilliant.

They couldn’t all be right.

With the Speaker away running the New York marathon, Cunliffe still fizzing from his strident speech at the annual conference, and National anxious to puncture Labour’s mood, there had to be a stoush in Parliament’s Question Time yesterday.

Cunliffe started off well but came away with a bloody nose – the answer he gave to what he called Key’s “stupid question” turned out to be wrong itself.

They were arguing about Labour’s new policy to set up a state-owned insurance company, KiwiAssure, as a sister operation to Kiwibank within NZ Post.

Labour says it will reduce the dominance of overseas-owned insurers, keep profits in New Zealand, and bring competition, flexibility and choice to New Zealanders.

Cunliffe implied that National’s opposition to the policy is because it received big donations from the insurance industry in 2005 and attempted to table the Hollow Men documentary on the Nicky Hager book. ? Read more »

A Very Interesting Case – Fidelity Life Loses Appeal

Well, well, well, three holes in the ground, one more well and we would be talking Texas.

Fidelity Life has copped a flogging in the Appeals Court in a case that isn’t too dis-similar from mine. Andrew Hooker writes at interest.co.nz about the case;

In a recent and controversial Court judgment, the Court of Appeal has confirmed a High Court Judge?s order that an insurance company pay its client?s income under an income protection policy until the dispute over policy coverage is decided by the Court.

Normally, if your income protection insurance company declines your claim, you are hit with a double whammy.

Not only is your income summarily ended, but you have to fight the insurance company without any income.

It?s hard enough paying your lawyer in the best of times. But when you have no income the battle can be daunting or impossible. And if you?re unwell to start with, the stress of the whole fiasco can be too much.
The lack of income for the length of the Court process may just be the straw that breaks the camel?s back and forces you into financial (and maybe mental) oblivion.

A cynic might say that this is what some less scrupulous insurance companies play on when they summarily decline such claims.

It seems too common for some insurers to suddenly ?turn off the tap? and declare someone fit for work, sometimes on the skimpiest of medical or factual evidence. ?There?s nothing wrong with you…go back to work?. Then the insured person has to embark on an expensive battle that he or she is simply unable to fund.

Eventually the insured person can no longer afford the fight and throws in the towel.

In this recent decision, the Court recognised that the insured person was financially ruined without the income and the balance of convenience supported reinstating the payments until the Case was finally resolved.

The Court of Appeal referred to some Canadian cases and in particular a comment by a Canadian Judge that:

??the wrongful withholding of disability payments may involve more than mere money. As well as taking away comfort and security, it can cause chaos in the plaintiff?s affairs. The long term effects of the loss of security and the impoverished lifestyle caused by cessation can amount to more than mere loss of money and beyond the scope of damages.?

With the case set down for hearing, the Court of Appeal decided that, on the balance of convenience, the insurance company should continue to pay while the dispute went through the Courts.

In doing so, the Court entered unchartered territory for New Zealand insurers and for that reason the decision will be of real concern to the insurance industry.

Until now insurance companies were free to decline and force the financially strapped and income-less customer try to fight against their almost endless resources. However, it seems clear that in some circumstances the Courts will grant an interim order requiring the insurance company to continue to pay until the matter is resolved.

Before getting too excited, it is important to recognise that the grounds on which a Court will make such an order are very limited. And in this case, the insured person provided an undertaking from a relative to repay the funds should the insurance company win the main case.

But some may say that it is a step in the right direction when the refusal to pay will cause irreparable damage if not reversed. In other words, if the insured person?s affairs are such that his or her financial position will crumble before the case is heard, and that even if he or she succeeds, it may be too late, then the court may order the insurance company to continue the payments until the case is decided.

It will be interesting to see how the insurance industry reacts, and what other cases this will be applied to.

Interesting that it is Fidelity Life and interesting that there seems to be a similar pattern in how they impoverish their customers so they can’t fight back. Well this blogger never gives in and this case just adds steel to my resolve to fight them and fight them hard.

Let me make something clear too, my case is far more clean cut than Pilkington’s. There has been and is no allegations of fraud against me, never has been and never will be. it is simply a matter of Fidelity Life deciding, against all medical evidence, including those of their paid doctors 9Prof. Des Gorman, Anthony Asteraidis and Ralf Schnabel) to conclude my claim. Since that time they have delayed and delayed and refused to enter into meaningful dialogue, following pretty much the same route they have employed against Pilkington, playing the long game against a client that they impoverished by their actions.

Movember – Day 4

Movember - Day 4

I have said that music is one o the things that gets me through my depression and DPD episodes. Here is another of my favourites, The Verve, Lucky Man, again it is a combination of the words and the tune that I like. The songs that help the most mean something to me, and the songs snap me out (temporarily) of my DPD episodes.

The only sad thing is that the f*ckwits at EMI don’t allow embedding…I have o idea why they would do that…surely they’d like to see their songs spread far and wide.

The only industry more intransigent and unreasonable than the music industry is the insurance industry and companies like Fidelity Life who ignore medical advice and add to their clients mental health issues by treating them like crap.

You can support Movember ?by making a donation to me or my team.? To help, you can either:

??? ?Click this link?http://nz.movember.com/donate/your-details/member_id/17568/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
??? ?Write a cheque payable to ?Movember Foundation,? referencing my Registration Number 17568 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 12708, Wellington, 6144

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

To join my Movember team go to?http://nz.movember.com/register/105390 and follow the steps. Once registered you’ll be sent all the information you need to raise funds and start growing as part of my Movember team.

A.C.C. doing a Fidelity Life

Madeleine Flannagan denied ACCMadeleine Flannagan has a shocking story about her treatment at the hands of ACC. The story is hauntingly like my battle with Fidelity Life.

The tactics are strikingly similar. Dodgy practitioners giving dodgy diagnosis to suit insurers. In her case a retired orthopedic surgeon by the name of Brian Otto. In my case it was three doctors in the pay of Fidelity Life, Dr Anthony Asteraidis, Prof. Des Gorman and Psychologist Ralf Schnabel. In both of our cases the reports of these charlatans bear no resemblance to reality and yet the insurance companies rely upon their dodgy medically un-supported diagnoses to get rid of troublesome clients.

It is high time that there was a parliamentary inquiry into the practices of all insurance companies in New Zealand, including ACC. the inquiry should focus on how insurance companies deal with long-term clients and their removal from their books, the processes used to remove them from the books.

A look through ACCForums should be enough to give any politician the colly-wobbles with how ACC and private insurers are operating here. To my mind their predatory practices are far worse than any action by Banks, and we have had inquiries in to them and their business activities.

The bright light of an inquiry should be focused on the insurance industry. Right now it is up to individuals to get the wherewithal together to sue them to bring them to account. The insurance companies know that few of their clients can afford to do this and so they keep on smashing people around.

The Insurance Ombudsmen has the threshold so low as to be useless, and before you can even get their you have to get the insurance company to declare that the issue is “deadlocked”. People’s lives re being dramatically affected. Worse still nearly all of these insurance companies are also offering up Kiwisaver accounts, with no declaration on where their substantial funds are being invested.

Lobby your MP for an investigation in to ACC and insurance companies.

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