Couple's accident policy dumped

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SUSANNE WILLIAMS is furious with her insurance company, Sun Alliance, and with good reason.

After nearly 30 years of diligently paying her premiums, she has been given just six weeks' notice that her accident policy is being withdrawn.

From 1 March she will be uninsured, and all because Sun Alliance has decided that the policy is not profitable.

In 1965, Mrs Williams and her husband, who live in Avon, took out a fatal accident policy.

The cover was arranged through a broker with the Century Insurance Company, which became part of Sun Alliance.

The policy pays out a lump sum only if death is caused by an accident. The premium was initially pounds 6.10 a year each for pounds 10,000 cover and subsequently went up to pounds 15.

'We kept paying our dues until out of the blue we got two letters dated 13 January 1994,' Mrs Williams says. The letters stated that cover would cease at midnight on 28 February.

Mrs Williams, who is 67, says: 'We have been dumped precisely at an age when if there is a need for a lump sum we actually need it. At our age, if one of us goes under a bus, financial help is of tremendous importance.'

Accident policies are annual contracts. The insurance company is at liberty not to renew the policy for whatever reason it choses. But to be left high and dry after nearly 30 years is particularly galling.

A spokesman for Sun Alliance says: 'They are victims of a wider business decision. Personal accident cover is not profitable for us.

''There is one rule for everyone - we cannot keep one or two policies on the book.

'Unfortunately their age is against them now if they want to take out another policy.'

There are a handful of companies that do offer accident cover to older people but the premiums are much higher than Mrs Williams has paid and the benefits considerably less.