Money Grouse: Free cover offered to husbands only

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KAREN PINDER is a policewoman. She is also married and has two young children. Why, she asks, do banks and building societies offer her husband free accidental death insurance but not her?

'In the past 12 months my husband has received two offers of accidental death insurance at no cost, with the option to purchase extra protection,' she says.

'The first was from the Alliance & Leicester, where we are joint mortgagees, and the second was from Barclays Bank, where we are joint account holders.

'Barclays and the Alliance & Leicester consider my husband to be eligible for free cover. I, however, must make a written request.

'I believe that both institutions are operating a policy of unfairly disciminating against women joint account holders. If they are not, why shouldn't both parties be considered eligible for the offer?'

Both institutions vehemently denied harbouring outdated views about a woman's place.

Alliance & Leicester said that as a rule mailshot promotions were sent to both the parties named on a mortgage or joint account.

But in this case the insurer underwriting the offer had only wanted to offer it to one person per household, although it was prepared to accept requests from spouses.

'The mailing went to the first-named person on the account,' said a spokeswoman for the society.

The story from Barclays Bank was similar. If a woman was the first-named person on the account, she would receive the mailing. The offer sent to Mr Pinder invited spouses to apply.

Write to Money Grouse, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Include a daytime telephone number. Do not send SAEs or original documents.

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