Consumer website AngryPolicyholders.com helps consumers refused payouts from insurers or financial institutions recover nearly £1 million in three years
For the past three years, consumer website AngryPolicyholders.com has been quietly working behind the scenes helping consumers who have been let down by UK insurers or financial institutions. After Chris Hargreaves won a ‘high-profile’ income protection case in 2012 against insurer Scottish Provident – who fought for two-and-a-half years to refuse his claim – Chris, and his wife Nicola decided to setup AngryPolicyholders.com to help other consumers.
The website which was created to help raise awareness of the good, the bad or the ugly of insurance and financial products and services in the UK, has been able to give free advice and support to a substantial number of consumers over the past three years who were in desperate need of help and advice.
Sadly, in the vast majority of cases brought to the websites attention which can be complex and involve substantial sums of money, consumers are already suffering from serious financial difficulties and are in a desperate situation after trying to fight for justice on their own for a number of years. The cases taken on have clearly had drastic effects on the person or families involved, with some heart-breaking consequences’. Interestingly, one of the main reasons these consumers continue to fight, sometimes for years before they contact us is because they feel like they are being accused of lying of falsifying a claim.
Chris Hargreaves, joint founder of AngryPolicyholders.com says: ‘We have tried very hard over the past three years not only to give advice, but to also give families support in their hour of need. We find ourselves taking phone calls at all hours from consumers who are clearly in a state of emotional distress. It is very difficult in some case not to get personally involved due to the circumstances of the case and feel personally responsible for obtaining a positive outcome.’
‘Even though I am a supporter of protection insurance and financial products and services, my faith is repeatedly tested to the limit due to the diabolical way some insurers or financial institutions have treated their customers. I appreciate when companies have a significant number of customers mistakes will happen. However, questions have to be raised in certain cases as to why the company involved has repeatedly failed to conclude cases before our involvement. It is because of this that the consumer starts to believe there is a deliberate agenda by an insurer or financial institution just to refuse a claim or a pay out in the hope the consumer will just give up and walk away.’
Chris continues: ‘This breach of trust leaves consumers believing all insurers or financial institutions are the same, which in turn damages the reputation not only of the company involved, but the industry as a whole. My biggest frustration with cases is that when we help overturn the original decision it raises the question: why have consumer had to fight for years to conclude cases, when the company involved could have rectified their error without such a long-winded fight?’
The cases taken on by AngryPolicyholders.com involve well known household names in the insurance and financial industry, but sadly most consumers don’t want to expose what they have been through because they have lost too much, including family breakdowns. These individuals whose decision to fight, no matter how long it takes are an inspiration.
Some of the examples of recent cases which have been overturned include an own occupation income protection claim for £25,000 a year which had been cancelled by the insurer following a flawed review of the claim. The decision to terminate the ongoing claim had serious consequences for the policyholder which affected his health and state of mind.
A home insurance claim which had been left unresolved since 2012 following a total breakdown in communication between the insurer and policyholder. Repairs had been carried out, but to an alleged poor standard leaving substantial costs to put them right. The resulting fight had a dramatic effect on the health of the policyholders and left a family living in an unfinished house for four years. Since our involvement the case has now been concluded with costs awarded in the region of £50,000, including alternative accommodation.
Finally, a heart-breaking case involving a family who have been through hell and back fighting for a substantial protection claim in excess of £250,000 after their insurer repeatedly refused to pay their claim. The lady involved in this case was determined to stand her ground and to fight for her husband and family. She is a true inspiration and ironically her insurer ended up paying out more than what the original claim was valued at.
The time it takes to solve these cases, whilst at the same time conducting complex investigations which are either consumer or criminal focused has led to sacrifices elsewhere. It was only in August 2015 that Chris collapsed with serious chest pains after a trip to the doctors. It turned out that a large clot had developed on his heart which resulted in only half his heart working properly. Added to this it was found multiple clots had formed in both lungs which when combined meant yet another admission to hospital and a long recovery.
Chris said: ‘it’s a fine balancing act. Juggling cases with a day job, a personal life and complications with my health, it feels that sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything. As we don’t charge for our help we have to prioritize and this has without doubt resulted in the website suffering from updates and contents.’
‘Don’t get me wrong I would love to be in a position to update and add articles on a more regular basis and we are always seeking help from third parties to add content which would be beneficial for our readers.’
Along with running AngryPolicyholders.com, Chris also helps out with another website writing articles and supporting good causes. It is clear that even though the decision by Scottish Provident to refuse his claim in 2009 had serious consequences, it is a decision that has helped have a positive effect for consumers who felt they had nowhere else to turn.
For a niche website with very little resources, but with bucket-loads of determination to see cases through it is clear they are making a difference to consumer’s lives. Imagine what AngryPolicyholders.com could achieve if they were to get the help and support to help even more consumers.