Annuitants group to sue Equitable

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The Independent Online

A group of Equitable Life annuitants said yesterday it would sue the troubled insurer, after it announced last week that it would not be pursuing legal action against the Government and regulators.

A group of Equitable Life annuitants said yesterday it would sue the troubled insurer, after it announced last week that it would not be pursuing legal action against the Government and regulators.

The Equitable Life Trapped Annuitants group has employed lawyers Clarke Wilmott to act for them in the case. It intends to file the writ before 14 May, to avoid the case being timed out by the six-year statute of limitations. The lawyers have agreed to act on a no win no fee basis for the group. "We are totally disillusioned with the Equitable board and the Government," said Peter Scawen, the chairman of Elta. "If they won't respond to the moral case for compensation, we'll have to use the courts instead."

Equitable Life announced last week that it would not be suing the Government for its regulatory failure, after its own lawyers, Herbert Smith, had said it did not have a realistic chance of success. It also said it would be advising its members at next month's annual meeting, to vote against a proposal by Equitable Members Action Group to put aside £2m for legal action.

It said it was now pinning its hopes on the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, reopening her inquiry into the case.

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