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Insurer changes heart

David Budge sees a woman win her battle for compensation.

A prematurely retired infant school headteacher who was forced to put her home on the market after being told that she could not claim against her mortgage protection policy has won her battle for compensation.

As The TES reported on October 13, 1995, Cynthia Rubin, 49, attempted to cash in the policy after retiring because of ill health last May but was informed that she was ineligible because claims had to be lodged within 90 days of becoming ill.

Now, however, Mrs Rubin and her husband, Richard, 52, have learned that the policy's underwriters, Consolidated Financial Assurance, of Richmond, Surrey, have had a change of heart - and have sent her a cheque for Pounds 6,720. The decision has come as a great relief to the Rubins because they have a Pounds 106,000 mortgage on their four-bedroom Runcorn home.

"I'm delighted with the result and would like to thank The TES for its assistance," Mrs Rubin, the former head of Westfield Infant School, Runcorn, said this week. "I'm not sure whether we would have reached a settlement without the publicity that you gave to our case."

The Rubins' joy is, however, tempered by the anxiety that the couple have experienced since Mrs Rubin was forced to quit teaching. Her husband lost his job as a production manager in 1992 and has since been unable to find a full-time post.

It was his redundancy that prompted Mrs Rubin to take out the Pounds 35-a-month policy after a Teachers' Assurance salesman visited her school in 1992.

"One thing I have learned from our experience is that if anyone with a mortgage protection policy is away from work sick for more than a month or so, then it's wise to commence a claim even if you do not carry it through, " said Mrs Rubin, who had been ill for eight months before her retirement. "I took out the insurance in order to cover loss of earnings so I reasoned that it would hardly be ethical to ask for any money until I was out of pocket. But, of course, I was told I was wrong.

"I've also learned that you shouldn't accept 'no' as an answer and should use every channel at your disposal to achieve a settlement. And you should certainly insist on seeing all the information available from your insurance salesperson."

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