EMAG

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

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Media Stories: 15/01/2010 - Press Coverage - One Year On

Daily Telegraph 15 January, 2010

Equitable Life victims criticise government over delays

Policyholders at Equitable Life today accused the Government of dragging its feet a year after it promised to make speedy payments to people hit by the problems at the society.

On January 15 2009, the then Treasury Chief Secretary Yvette Cooper told the House of Commons the Government would make ex-gratia payments to people who had been 'disproportionately affected' as 'swiftly as possible'.

She also appointed former Appeal Court judge Sir John Chadwick to examine cases to decide what ex-gratia payments should be made.  But a year later, policyholders still do not know when they will be paid or how much they will receive.

Paul Braithwaite, general secretary of Equitable Members Action Group (Emag), said: "A year on and Yvette Cooper's promises of speed, parroted at regular intervals subsequently by (her successor) Liam Byrne, have been shown to be hollow and cynical. "While 15 victims of this scandal die every day, the Government has ensured that Sir John will not even make his recommendations until after the election."

The agreement to pay redress came after Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham called on the Government to set up an independent tribunal to calculate compensation for policyholders after finding 10 instances of maladministration by regulators and Whitehall officials in relation to Equitable in the period leading up to December 2001.

The Government rejected some of her findings of maladministration, but Emag later won a High Court victory when it was ruled that the Treasury had been wrong to reject certain specific findings by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. A Treasury spokesman said: "The Government has agreed to set up a payment scheme that is practical and fair to both policyholders and taxpayers, and which can pay out as swiftly as possible.

"Sir John Chadwick has been appointed to advise on the fairest way to proceed. He published his interim report last month and is continuing the detailed analysis of policyholder records that will inform his findings."

Equitable Life was brought to its knees in 2000 when it lost a legal battle in the House of Lords over the rights of its policyholders, forcing it to close to new business.


Press Association: Equitable Life policyholders angry

Policyholders at Equitable Life have accused the Government of dragging its feet a year after it promised to make speedy payments to people hit by the problems at the society.

On January 15 2009, the then Treasury Chief Secretary Yvette Cooper told the House of Commons the Government would make ex-gratia payments to people who had been 'disproportionately affected' as 'swiftly as possible'.

She also appointed former Appeal Court judge Sir John Chadwick to examine cases to decide what ex-gratia payments should be made.

But a year later, policyholders still do not know when they will be paid or how much they will receive.

Paul Braithwaite, general secretary of Equitable Members Action Group (Emag), said:"A year on and Yvette Cooper's promises of speed, parroted at regular intervals subsequently by (her successor) Liam Byrne, have been shown to be hollow and cynical.

"While 15 victims of this scandal die every day, the Government has ensured that Sir John will not even make his recommendations until after the election."

The agreement to pay redress came after Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham called on the Government to set up an independent tribunal to calculate compensation for policyholders after finding 10 instances of maladministration by regulators and Whitehall officials in relation to Equitable in the period leading up to December 2001.

The Government rejected some of her findings of maladministration, but Emag later won a High Court victory when it was ruled that the Treasury had been wrong to reject certain specific findings by the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

A Treasury spokesman said: "The Government has agreed to set up a payment scheme that is practical and fair to both policyholders and taxpayers, and which can pay out as swiftly as possible.

"Sir John Chadwick has been appointed to advise on the fairest way to proceed. He published his interim report last month and is continuing the detailed analysis of policyholder records that will inform his findings."


Reuters: Equitable Life payments protest

The government is being accused by Equitable Life's policyholders of dragging its feet a year after it pledged to accelerate payments to people impacted by problems at the assurance society. Ministers promised last January to make ex-gratia payments to those 'disproportionately affected' as 'swiftly as possible'. However, Paul Braithwaite, head of the Equitable Members' Action Group, said these pledges 'have been shown to be hollow and cynical'.