No insurance payout for Ken Masters Widow

Insurers refuse to pay out to soldier's widow
By Ian Herbert
Published: 17 February 2007
An American company contracted to provide life insurance to British soldiers serving in Iraq is refusing to accept liability for the death of a military police officer because it does not accept that he died in service.

Captain Ken Masters, who led investigations into allegations of abuse against British troops in Basra, took his own life in October 2005 after the pressures of his position became too much for him. The coroner who presided over his inquest has asked the MoD to improve systems to deal with the kind of psychological damage he suffered. But AIG, which by arrangement with the Army receives payments direct from soldiers' salaries, does not include psychological harm within its definition of "bodily injury" covered by its policy and has now told Captain Masters' widow, Alison, that she has no entitlement.


War Hero
Bloody sad situation, Westy.


This was mentioned on an earlier thread, the upshot of which (I believe) was that they were looking into it.

I hope they do. There was a discussion on in the other thread about whether insurance companies paid out for suicide. I think that it'll come down to contractural obligations by both the insured and the insurer.
My life insurance thing is a left-over from when I was in. It ruled out suicide in the first year. There is a double benefit if death happened in active service but this was conditioned such that I'd have needed to be hand to hand with Big Ian for it to count. Rest assured that Insurance companies do not take risks with their money.
Biscuits_AB said:
This was mentioned on an earlier thread, the upshot of which (I believe) was that they were looking into it.
Teach me to go on holiday!
Medicina said:
Why should life insurance pay out on a suicide? I am confused at what the problem is?
Put it down to the fact that you seem to be an A'hole as well as being stupid!


Insurance companies rarely pay out on a suicide, especially in the first or second year.

Reasons for this are simple.

1. People who believe that they are a failure in life and have failed to support their family etc will take out a massive policy, pay the first installment and then top themselves, thus setting their family up and somehow making their death worthwhile. If insurers allowed this to happen the suicide rate would skyrocket. Also the number of domestic murders dressed as suicide would increase as spouses cashed in.

2. Mental illness is still one of the least understood parts of medicine. All prior or existing conditions are not covered when you take out insurance. While this case is tragic and AIG are considering the case (hopefully to the benefit of the widow), who is to say that Capt Masters was not already suffering from some form of mental illness when he took out the insurance policy?

Despite first appearances this is not a case of "Insurance company bad, poor widow good", but a situation that bears the hallmarks of the failure of the employer to look after the employee (well done MoD for slashing back the Army's shrinks and outsourcing it all to a Labour donor), and the hard world of finance and actuarial statistics. It didn't help that an AIG employee incorrectly told Mrs Masters that they would pay out, and then they changed their minds when the nature of his death became known.

As I have stated as a caution repeatedly on this site, insurance companies are there to make profits for their owners, not for their clients. The best you can ever hope for from an insurance company is that you will receive reparation for your loss. You will not profit from it (and to try and do so is considered fraud by the insurance companies and the police).

2 kinds of people do not buy insurance: the extremely wealthy and the very poor. The first can afford to replace any loss themselves without loss of lifestyle, the latter have nothing to loose. If you will never have a claim, then you don't need insurance. You only insure that, which if you lost it, would cause you problems to restore.

Sorry to be dull, but I was a regional director of an insurance company out here in central Europe for several years, and it is evident that a large number of people do not understand insurance. I am not defending the actions of AIG (and their initial error negates any right they have to dismiss the claim IMHO), but explaining how insurance works.

Final tip: no matter how busy or rushed you are, sit down with a pen and paper and actually read your insurance policy from start to finish. Anything you do not understand write down and ask either the broker who sold you the policy or the insurance company. Make sure you know what is covered and what the exclusions and deductibles are and that you agree to them. In the event of a loss your insurance can make a massive amount of difference to your life, and is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make and is up there with buying a house. Get it right.


PS I no longer work for the insurance industry, so this is not a plug.
Thanks to Dread. I reckon we need to ask MOD 'experts' who negotiated the deal with the civilian insurance company why they did not do the detailed analysis that he recommends. As one time director of a outsourcing company, I know that potential suppliers may well roll over and accept things when they want the business that they would never allow in the course of business once the contract is signed. Suicide from stress could have been negotiated 'in'. Too late now.
Exemplo_Ducky_Mouse said:
Medicina said:
Why should life insurance pay out on a suicide? I am confused at what the problem is?
Put it down to the fact that you seem to be an A'hole as well as being stupid!
The reasons (which have nothing to do with a'holes) were fully explained by PAXBLOKE in the other threads relating to this unfortunate incident. Do a trawk of his posts for the full version.

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