I read with interest the comments made by Simon Burgess about the Post Office's new payment protection insurance (PPI) product (News, 22 June). The quote was enough to show, yet again, that Burgess will try to level criticism at anything that he is not involved in.
The extract quotes Burgess as being concerned that "cover can be cancelled with only 30 days' notice and consumers may be completely abandoned".
Having visited his company's website to check the policy wording of the Paymentshield products he is marketing I see that the policy summary clearly states: "We may cancel your policy by giving you 30 days' written notice."
How is this any different to the Post Office? If Burgess finds the concept of 30 days' notice of cancellation abhorrent, perhaps he might consider recommending single premium products that cannot be cancelled during the term of the insurance.
Once again it seems to be a case of him setting himself up to be the watchdog of all that is payment protection. I stand to be corrected but this is the same Simon Burgess who, in the past, has sold policies to pay out in the event of alien abduction, immaculate conception and back disorders for prostitutes. I also seem to recall a product for male escorts that went by the name of "Cocksure".
Of greater concern is the appearance of an exclusion under the disability section of his Paymentshield products that says claims will not be paid if disability is due to a chronic condition. This is in addition to the usual 12-month pre-existing condition exclusion. To be fair, his are not the only products that now appear to have this exclusion, but it must raise concern that a claim will be denied for any condition if it is deemed to be due to a chronic condition that the client had suffered at any time in the past. To my mind this means that asthma, arthritis and heart disease could all be excluded as - at least when I was practising medicine - these were all classed as chronic conditions that could go for periods symptom free but recur at any time.
Burgess claims to be championing the consumer but his products appear to be more restrictive than some. Our products do not have an exclusion of chronic conditions and, if a customer has a pre-existing condition that they subsequently have no medical treatment or advice for over a 24-month period, we will then cover that pre-existing condition in the future.
Can I suggest that Burgess takes a good look at his own backyard before he starts sweeping everyone else's.
Dr RW Martin