Southwest focus: Buyer beware
The ruling of the House of Lords in the Hyman proceedings not only outlawed any new business to the Equitable Life Assurance Society, it also showed the fundamental flaws in its management and the advice that it gave out, writes John Virgo
The closure to new business of the world’s oldest mutual, the Equitable Life Assurance Society, in December 2000, followed the House of Lords ruling in the Hyman proceedings ( 3 WLR 529). As is well known, their lordships held that the differential terminal bonus policy, which the society had introduced in 1993, was unlawful. In short, it was held that the policy discriminated against those policyholders who had contracted to take retirement benefits with an option for Guaranteed Annuity Rates (GARs) to be applied.
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