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Working Lunch Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 15:01 GMT
In for a penny
Policy
The policy was 60 years old
You'd think cashing in an insurance policy would be straighforward.

On maturity or the death of the policyholder, you make a claim and the insurers pays up.

Not so for Delia Mead.

The problem in her case was that the policy was taken out in 1942, and the insurer's records had disappeared in the mists of time.

When Delia and her sister Daphne were small children, their mother took out policies to provide some money for them in their old age.

Delia collected 1,800 from the Prudential when she turned 65 recently.

Premium

But her sister had died, and in her belongings, Delia and her mother came across a policy with Liverpool Victoria.

Delia Mead
Delia's own policy paid out
It had been taken out in October 1942, when Daphne was just 14 months old.

The weekly premium was one penny.

Delia sent in copies of the policy and the death certificate, but Liverpool Victoria said that wasn't enough.

They could find no trace of the policy and asked for receipt books to prove that money had been paid in.

Liverpool Victoria even offered 10 to take the policy off Delia's hands so that there would be no further confusion.

But she was keen to get the matter resolved.

"Being that these policies were around in the 1930s and 1940s there must be other people like mother and I," she says.

"Although it's a small amount by today's standards, if you put a group of people together you're talking 20,000 or 30,000."

Discovered

Liverpool Victoria told Working Lunch their files became computerised in the 1980s and they don't have all records from before then.

But further checks showed the policy did exist, and the company has agreed to pay out nearly 172 on it.

As a bonus, the insurer also discovered another policy which Delia and her mother hadn't been aware of.

That will provide a payout of 104.

The lesson is that any policy, no matter how old, is worth pursuing, so don't just throw them away.

And if the insurer is being unhelpful, stick to your guns, like Delia.

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