Aviva faces rebel policyholders in High Court over estate

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Policyholders have accused Aviva, the insurer, of employing underhand tactics ahead of a High Court hearing tomorrow seeking approval for the reattribution of its inherited orphan asset estate. Aviva is offering policyholders £500m in exchange for their rights to £1.2bn worth of estate, an amount that some, including the consumer group Which? has dubbed derisory.

Twenty dissident policyholders will give evidence at the High Court on Monday, including Fran Budd, who said: "The whole process seems to have been conducted in an underhand manner. The roadshows explaining the reattribution were supposed to be forums of open exchange, but they were stage managed. Voices of dissent found their microphones were switched off."

In a damning assessment of the reattribution process Which?'s chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, said: "Instead of standing up for consumers, the Financial Services Authority appears to have stood by while Aviva plundered hundreds of millions of pounds of policyholders' money from its inherited estate."

An Aviva spokesman said: "The date of the hearing has been set for several months and this has been widely communicated to policyholders."