HC Deb 14 August 1940 vol 364 c774
42. Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that in the life policies of certain insurance companies there are clauses exempting the companies from liability if death occurs while the insured person is a member of His Majesty's Forces; that such exemption is independent of the question whether the circumstances are such that pensions will be payable by the Government to dependants of the deceased; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter.

The Attorney-General

It would be impracticable for the Government to base its Pensions Scheme on the principle of providing a pension in all cases in which an exemption clause contained in the contract between an assured and an assurance company was operative. Apart from the principle involved, it may well be that such clauses take different forms. It is hoped that if any difficulties such as that suggested arise out of war circumstances, insurance companies will deal sympathetically with them. The Board of Trade and the Industrial Assurance Commissioner, whichever is appropriate, are ready to consider such cases if they are brought to their notice and get in touch with the insurance companies concerned.

Mr. Silverman

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman considered how far such a clause is against public policy?

The Attorney-General

No, Sir, I have not considered that, but prima facie I should think that an insurance company, as a matter of contract, was entitled to exclude, broadly speaking, war risks, and, of course, to take a smaller premium on account of excluding those risks.

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