Sunday 19 January 2020

'High risk' customers 'abandoned' by insurance company

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Daire Courtney

Customers have been left high and dry after their insurance policies were cancelled by an insurance firm.

Combined Insurance customers have received letters explaining that their critical illness policies have been cancelled from November. This is part of a mass cancellation by the company of all ‘Critical Five’ policies that has not affected their other plans.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Liveline this afternoon, listener Ellen explained that her husband’s policy was cancelled on short notice and that she is struggling to find alternative cover.

“They’ll terminate my husband’s critical policy on the November 18, not at a very good time for us. He is due to have a second biopsy towards the end of October and the results won’t be in for three to four weeks.

“I looked for alternatives and the quote I’ve gotten is about four times higher. This policy is not supposed to be up for renewal until March 2017.”

Paddy O’Rourke also had a Critical Five plan cancelled by Combined Insurance.

“Now that I’ve reached an age which they view as more likely to cause problems, they’ve abandoned the cover,” he told Liveline today.

“I think they’re cherry-picking the profitable policies and the views they view as potentially high-risk, they’re abandoning. And there doesn’t seem to be any penalty or regulation we can use.”

Speaking to, Councillor O’Rourke said that a letter from the company informed him that all Critical Five policies were being cancelled and that this was due to the “performance of the plan”.

“I’ve been approached by constituents who have also had plans cancelled and I am investigating our options, but I’m not very optimistic,” he told

‘Critical five’ policies covered patients for cancer, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and coronary artery bypass grafts.

Critical illness insurance is designed to assist people with the indirect costs of a serious illness; ordinary health insurance might pay for medication or operations, but might not other related costs such as travel or childcare. This can leave patients in the lurch financially if they are diagnosed with a serious illness.

Combined Insurance were fined €3.5 million for regulatory breaches in 2011, but Cllr O’Rourke said that he does not believe their actions are in breach of any regulations. has contacted Combined Insurance for comment.

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