HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 cc239-40W
Mr. Mathers

asked the Attorney-General whether he is now in a position to make a statement as to the protection to be afforded to the interests of insurance policy-holders who find themselves unable, owing to war conditions, to maintain full payment of premiums?

Mr. Joel

asked the Attorney-General whether he has yet reached any decision in connection with the negotiations which have been taking place recently between the Government and life insurance offices regarding policy holders who are unable to continue paying premiums on life insurances owing to the war; and, if so, will he make a statement regarding his decision?

The Attorney-General

In the case of "ordinary" life policies, the Government have now given their approval to the arrangements referred to in the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Mathers) on 14th December, which have been designed to afford substantial protection to policy-holders who find themselves in difficulties owing to war conditions. Protection from forfeiture will be granted by the companies in all cases of hardship so long as the surrender value of the policy is sufficient to cover the advance of premiums necessary to keep the policy alive. If a claim arises while the protection lasts, the full sum assured will be paid less the amount of unpaid premiums and interest thereon. For this purpose it will be assumed, in the case of all whole life and endowment assurance policies, that a policy has acquired a surrender value as soon as two years' premiums have been paid.

Further, where there is no surrender value or insufficient surrender value to maintain the cover, the offices will deal as generously as possible with each case with a view to keeping the policy in force for some further period, and where, in spite of the protection granted, policies have lapsed, the offices will make such arrangements as possible for reinstatement after the war. To supervise the working of these arrangements, the offices are setting up committees which will give advice to their members as required and will report the position from time to time to the Board of Trade.

In the case of industrial assurance policies and assurances with registered friendly societies, discussions have taken place, and it is proposed to introduce legislation in the near future.

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