Sunday Times 29/12/2013

Q. JG writes: My parents invested €74,000 in a section 60 life assurance policy in 2001. It was set up in their joint names to pay out when the second of them died to cover any inheritance tax bill. My father passed away in 2004. Four years later, my mother was advised to invest a further €41,000 to meet the tax bill. She passed away last August. While checking our claim, the insurance company discovered that my mother’s date of birth on the first application was incorrect. She appeared to be seven years younger than she was. A family friend had filled out the form, although, of course, my parents should have checked it before signing. We sent her birth certificate to the insurance company but three weeks later we have heard nothing. We are concerned the policy will not pay out.

On a section 60 life policy what happens if it is discovered that the age of the second life was entered 7 years younger than she actually was?


A. An insurer would still consider the claim, but if valid, the death benefit payable would probably be reduced to reflect the sum insured that would have been payable based on the correct age and date premiums have been paid up to.


If the error was not the insurers fault then the benefit would be recalculated taking account of the correct date of birth and the premium paid. This calculation is undertaken by the actuarial department.


Zurich and Irish Life for example would take a fair view and recalculate the benefit rather than look to decline payment for mis-statement of age.


So in short, the benefit would be reduced.


Readers technical question answered by John Geraghty of