A BUSINESSWOMAN claims Zurich Life wrongly cancelled her gravely ill husband’s €1m life assurance policy, on which she has paid over €500,000 in premia for the last 32 years.
Carmel Ryan, of Oaklee, Model Farm Rd, Cork, says she was never contacted by Zurich Life Assurance plc before it cancelled the policy a month and a half after the €4,868 monthly premium was missed because of a temporary insufficiency of funds in the couple’s bank account.
Zurich now says it will only reinstate the policy if her husband, Sean Ryan, takes out a new policy. Ms Ryan says her husband is gravely ill and would not meet the underwriting criteria for such a reinstatement.
She has sued Zurich, of Frascati Rd, Blackrock, Dublin, and her brokers SYS Mortgages DAC, Quintins Way, Pearse St, Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
The case was admitted to the Commercial Court by Mr Justice Denis McDonald.
Ms Ryan says monthly direct debit payments to Zurich have been made since May 1990 from an account used for very limited purposes, including the payment of premia. The monthly premium due on September 1, 2021, was not collected because, due to administrative oversight and inadvertence, there was “a temporary insufficiency of funds in the account”, she says in an affidavit.
The policy provides for a 30-day grace period in the event of a missed payment. Ms Ryan says Zurich maintains it wrote twice to her about the missed payments in September 2021, and again on the following October 18 cancelling the policy. She says she never received these letters.
Zurich, she says, also claims it attempted to contact her broker but due to “system or administrative error” on the part of one or both defendants, the information was not communicated to SYS Mortgages.
Zurich refused to reinstate the policy, refuted liability in correspondence with her solicitor, and she then brought proceedings. She says she has paid Zurich €568,643 in premia over the last 32 years and anticipates it will be worth €1,064,798 on the death of her husband.
She is seeking declarations and orders, including that the policy termination was in breach of contract and that the policy is valid and subsisting, as well as damages.