The independent action group for current and ex Equitable Life policyholders, funded by contributions.

Equitable Members Action Group

Equitable Members Action Group Limited, a company limited by guarantee, number 5471535 registered in the UK

Media Stories: 16/11/2002 - International news update - and a request for your help

16 November '02 - International news update - and a request for your help

EMAG continue to represent international policyholders in the fight for justice and compensation.

  1. Penrose investigation.

    At the meeting between EMAG and the Penrose investigation team this month, Lord Penrose confirmed that the selling of Equitable Life Policies from offshore centres was part of his study. He also pointed out that he was also considering the issues of multiple jurisdiction in such countries as Germany.

    EMAG will continue to press for an early completion date for this investigation and for the results to be made publicly available.

    To ensure that the Penrose report reflected the reality of the plight of policyholders and did not become a 'sterile' accounting and legal document, EMAG agreed with Lord Penrose to supply case studies. We plan to supply two case studies from international policyholders to show the loss and sense of isolation felt by many international policyholders.

    I therefore urge anyone who feels that their situation reflects the particular problems of international policyholders, to access the appropriate section in the EMAG homepage, and send us details. EMAG will then select cases that bring home the human reality of what has happened, and relay them to the Penrose investigation team.

  2. The standstill agreement.

    Internationals can still be included in the standstill agreements of the solicitors, Irwin Mitchell and Class Law. This agreement was set up in August 2002 to permit completion of the B&W Deloitte report and subsequent legal debate as to the case for compensation. International policyholders could access the sites of each of these solicitors to read up on what this standstill agreement involves and consider registering.

  3. The FOS accepts complaints from Guernsey sold policies.

    Since mid September 2002 the FOS has accepted that he has the jurisdiction to hear complaints concerning policies sold from the Guernsey office. (This decision is probably based on recognition of the active role played by the ELAS UK head office in selling and administering these policies).

    Now is the time to put pen to paper and follow the complaints procedure of writing to the compliance officer at EL (if you have not already done so) and follow-up with a letter to the FOS in the same way as if you were a UK based policyholder. Details are held at the www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk web site.

  4. The B&W Deloitte report

    Irwin Mitchell have stated that they received a copy of the B & W Deloitte report early October, together with a copy of QCs counsel's opinion. They are studying the contents of the documents received and we expect them to express their views in support of the position of policyholders shortly.

  5. The inclusion of international policies into UK legislation and compensation

    EMAG is aware that some international policyholders are worried about the lack of rights to UK compensation should ELAS become insolvent.

    While nothing in life is certain, "internationals" should be heartened by reading the reports on the success of the Irish and Spanish policyholders of Independent Insurance. These groups won their right to UK compensation through the European parliament's directives on equal treatment for Europeans when buying insurance products sold outside a member state.

    The appropriate links are:-
    http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3GTNRKLZC&live=true http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3HX63MQVC&live http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3P7CI5QYC&live=true

    As you will read in these reports, Stephen Alexander of Class Law states that there are similarities with the Equitable Life situation. The key point is apparently that both ELAS and Independent Insurance were selling insurance products, and not services, from the UK.

  6. Our new web site and international access

    EMAG is receiving a large number of web page "hits" from a wide range of countries. These include Australia, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States - so you are not alone!

    We are considering the possibility of organising regional groups to collate and distribute information. If you are willing to help, could you send an e-mail to the international co-ordinator. Through these groups it is hoped to give a better response service to e-mails from international policyholders, plus to obtain co-ordinated feedback for the EMAG committee.


The above information is given on an "as is" basis and is not guaranteed to be accurate. It does not imply that EMAG is giving any advice to policyholders, who are always expected to seek professional guidance before acting.