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When my hon. Friend makes the regulations, will he do us a favour? Will he come back to the Chamber and get us on board? Will he tell us what he is doing, and
18 Feb 2008 : Column 122
how he is updating and altering the regulations under the Bill? He knows that much latitude has been given to the new regulatory body. Although we all wish it well, it will not do some things. It will be reticent to tackle some matters, and it may need a little pressure to deliver. If my hon. Friend can come back and convince us, perhaps we can give him the authority to exert that pressure to deliver for the right people—the patients. I wish him well.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.


Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): With the leave of the House, I shall put motions 2, 3, 4 and 5 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Delegated Legislation Committees),


Local Government

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) Delegated Legislation Committees),

Local Government

The House proceeded to a Division.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 287, Noes 116.
Division No. 79]
[9.18 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, Danny
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Balls, rh Ed
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette

Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burnham, rh Andy
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Clark, Ms Katy
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
Davey, Mr. Edward
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Etherington, Bill
Farron, Tim
Fisher, Mark
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harris, Mr. Tom
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moore, Mr. Michael
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Teather, Sarah
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

Alison Seabeck and
Mr. Sadiq Khan

Afriyie, Adam
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Barker, Gregory
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Bercow, John
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham

Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clark, Greg
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Duddridge, James
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Ottaway, Richard
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Randall, Mr. John

Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Simmonds, Mark
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wright, Jeremy
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Brooks Newmark and
Nick Herbert
Question accordingly agreed to.
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Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119(9) (European Committees),

Electricity and Gas Supply and Transmission Networks

Question agreed to.

18 Feb 2008 : Column 127

Insurance Industry (Regulation)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn. —[Mr. Blizzard.]

9.35 pm

Mr. Denis Murphy (Wansbeck) (Lab): I thank Mr. Speaker for granting me the debate. The case that I am raising relates to an individual constituent, Mrs. Susan Hurrell, who I believe has been the victim of a major injustice at the hands of Scottish Provident. I do so with her agreement and the issue is not subject to any form of legal proceedings. I shall briefly explain the unfortunate series of events that led up to the debate.

Mrs. Hurrell came to see me at my Friday surgery in January 2007. I was so concerned by what she told me that, in an attempt to resolve the issue, I wrote to Scottish Provident, offering to meet its representatives. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to themselves, they chose not to take up that offer. Since my initial letter of January 2007, numerous additional letters from my constituent and from me have not brought about a satisfactory and just resolution. Unfortunately, referring the case to the ombudsman also failed to bring about the desired result.

In October 2003, Mr. and Mrs. Hurrell took out a life assurance mortgage policy. Sadly, some 14 months later, in December 2004, Mrs. Hurrell was diagnosed as being terminally ill with stage 3 category C ovarian cancer. She was told that she had only a few months to live. Once my constituent and her husband had come to terms with the shock of that, they contacted Scottish Provident by telephone to inform them of Mrs. Hurrell’s medical condition and to request a claim form. Their first telephone contact with Scottish Provident was made in December 2004, and they were extremely surprised to be informed that they did not have terminal illness cover and that it would not be possible for them to make a claim except in the event of death. They were both devastated by that advice, as they were convinced that the cover was an important part of the policy. I am sure that that undoubtedly added to the worry and distress that they were already suffering.

A few weeks later, in January 2005, Mr. Hurrell telephoned Scottish Provident to check that the information he had been given was correct. They were again advised that it was not possible for them to make a claim as they did not have terminal illness cover. It is worth noting at this juncture that the telephone calls made in both December 2004 and January 2005 were made well within the 13-week claim period allowed to submit a claim. If Scottish Provident had accepted at that stage that Mrs. Hurrell had terminal illness cover, the claim could have been submitted, considered and determined. In the words of Mrs. Hurrell:

Mrs. Hurrell underwent emergency surgery and a heavy course of chemotherapy. Against all the medical odds, she survived and, although very ill, is alive today.

Some 20 months after Mrs. Hurrell was diagnosed as being terminally ill, she and her husband received a letter from their mortgage company about the renewal of their mortgage protection plan. Mrs. Hurrell contacted the company, advising it that she would require a quotation without her name on the policy. Understandably, she
18 Feb 2008 : Column 128
was asked why she did not want her name to be on it. When she explained her circumstances, the staff member at the mortgage company was surprised and, having checked the policy, advised her that she was indeed covered for terminal illness and should contact Scottish Provident immediately.

On 19 September 2006, Mrs. Hurrell rang Scottish Provident about the advice given in December 2004 and January 2005. The lady to whom she spoke was extremely apologetic about the advice, and said that she would send a claim form without delay. She then asked Mrs. Hurrell when she had been diagnosed. Having given the date of the diagnosis, Mrs. Hurrell was told, “Sorry, you are too late. You had to die within the first 12 months.” Apart from anything else, that was a terribly callous statement. However on 23 September 2006, Mrs. Hurrell received a letter from Scottish Provident apologising for the incorrect advice and confirming that terminal illness cover was included in death benefit. Enclosed in the letter was a claim form and a request that it be returned along with the original policy document. If the claim could then proceed, Scottish Provident would contact the relevant doctors.

After numerous letters from Scottish Provident indicating that it was awaiting a response from Mrs. Hurrell’s consultant, a further letter arrived on 5 January 2007 notifying Mrs. Hurrell of the failed outcome of her terminal illness claim. It stated:

It is also worth noting that Mr. Naik, a consultant gynaecologist and oncologist based at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead, had written to Scottish Provident on 27 November 2006 stating:

To me it is abundantly clear that when she made the initial contact with Scottish Provident in December 2004 and January 2005, Susan’s condition was such that she met the requirements of the policy: that is, life expectancy was no greater than 12 months. Consequently, in my opinion she should have been paid in full.

Susan wrote complaining about the decision, and received a response on 23 January 2007 telling her that she had not informed the company within the required 13-week period, and that the medical information did not support her claim. Given that Scottish Provident had written to her four months earlier apologising for the fact that she had been given incorrect advice about terminal illness cover, it seems strange that it should now say that she had not informed it within 13 weeks. In fact, she had informed it twice. The letter from Mr. Naik, her consultant, was devastatingly clear: she would not survive for 12 months. How can the company possibly claim that there is no medical evidence to support the claim?

The chief medical officer for Scottish Provident said that, in any event, the company would have waited to discover the outcome of the surgery and chemotherapy before deciding whether to meet the claim. Surely the main reason for taking out terminal illness cover is to enable people to put their finances in order before they
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die, and payment should consequently be made as soon as the prognosis of life expectancy of less than 12 months has been delivered. If it was normal practice to defer an assessment of terminal illness until after the response to chemotherapy was known, the company was in effect waiting for a person to die within the 12 months before paying out. Why on earth then are people paying the extra for terminal illness cover? If the company is delaying claims of that nature by more than 12 months, it is doing so deliberately to deny customers their rightful payments. It would be interesting to know how often Scottish Provident has applied that practice, and how many claimants have been denied terminal illness payments as a result. It is worth noting also that the basis of Mrs. Hurrell’s claim was the medical assessment of Mr. Naik, who is an eminent consultant. The basis of Scottish Provident’s case is not what it did, but what it said it might have done at the time; it is based purely on hindsight. If the claim had been accepted, Mr. and Mrs. Hurrell would have been entitled to receive a lump sum benefit of £60,000. Instead, she was offered £150 for her distress and inconvenience.

Subsequently, Mrs. Hurrell sought the assistance of the financial services ombudsman. Unfortunately, that was without success, as the adjudicator concluded that she could not recommend that the complaint be upheld. As part of her findings, the adjudicator stated:

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