CR21 Funeral Insurance – competing claimants

• Funeral Insurance – competing claimants

Insurers sometimes find themselves in the position of stake-holders faced with competing claims from different claimants, e.g. the deceased policyholder’s current and former wives. In such situations the office has advised the insurer:

(i) that it would be unwise for it to effect payment to one spouse unless it had first canvassed the views of all the other potential claimants;

(ii) that when any claimant lodged a complaint with this office the consent of all the other potential claimants should be obtained permitting this office to adjudicate the dispute as between all the competing claims. This would require from parties other than the complainant and the insurer a form of submission to the jurisdiction and orders of the office. If such an agreement is reached it would in effect amount to a procedure akin to interpleaded proceedings recognised by the rules of court;

(iii) that the office would thereupon make a ruling based on what the policy provided and on what it regards as fair and practical as between all the competing parties;

(iv) that, as far as the future is concerned, the insurer should redraft its policy provisions so as to cater explicitly and clearly for the ranking of claims in eventualities where such competing claims could arise.