Sunday 21 January 2018

Laya insurance customers to lose out if they quit mid-contract

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

CUSTOMERS of Laya Healthcare will face losing money if they have paid in advance and cancel their policies before the 12 months of the contract are up.

The company, which has changed its name from Quinn Healthcare, will not refund any of the premium for those who have paid up for a year but cancel the policy inside of 12 months.

All new and existing customers will be subject to the new rules from June 18.

Those who started or renewed policies before that date will get a proportion of their premium back if they cancel their policy before a year has elapsed, provided they have made no claims.

The company is the second largest health insurer in the market and has around 450,000 customers.

A spokeswoman for Laya said: "From June 18, we will be implementing the principles relating to an annual contract.

"Members who wish to cancel mid-year will not be eligible for a refund of the remainder of the premium for the 12-month policy, regardless of whether a claim has been paid out on their behalf in that membership year or not. This is the market norm."

Asked about those who pay monthly by direct debit and then cancel the payment midway through the year, the spokeswoman said they would not get any refund.

However, it is understood consumers in this situation will not be chased for the payments for the months outstanding on their annual policy.

State-owned VHI Healthcare came in for criticism when it began imposing a €50 fee on customers who cancel their policy midway through the year.

Obstacles

VHI also claws back the health levy, which is €208 for an adult, along with imposing the €50 fee, if no claims have been paid on the policy since it was last renewed.

Medical cover expert Dermot Goode of healthinsurancesavings.ie said health insurers were trying to put obstacles in the way of people who wanted to switch policies to benefit from special offers.

"Commercially this makes sense, but it will mean that more consumers may be precluded from availing of special offers on the market," he said.

"In a climate of spiralling health insurance costs, this is not good news for anyone."

Irish Independent

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