Duty to take Reasonable Care
In this section, ‘you’ (and ‘your’) means the life to be insured (or the life insured, as the case may be) and also the applicant for insurance, if the applicant is a different person to the life to be insured / life insured.
Before entering into a contract with us for your insurance cover, you have a legal duty to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation to us before we issue your cover. A misrepresentation is a false answer, an answer that is only partially true, or an answer which does not fairly reflect the truth.
This duty applies not only to new applications for insurance, but also when you are extending or amending existing insurance and when you are reinstating insurance, up until your application, amendment or reinstatement is submitted and accepted by us.
If someone assists you to make this application, you are responsible for the information they give to us.
Please keep in mind that we may investigate whether the answers and information given to us was true (including following a claim being made).
If you do not meet your duty
If you do not meet your duty to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation, this can have serious impacts on your insurance. The terms of your insurance may be changed, of your cover could even be avoided altogether (treated as if it never existed). This may also result in a claim being declined or a benefit being reduced. Please make sure you read the section What can we do if the duty is not met? which appears below, carefully.
Guidance for answering our questions
Keep in mind that you are responsible for the information provided to us, including information provided in response to any questions we ask during the application process or when you make changes to your insurance or reinstate your insurance. When answering our questions, please:
- Think carefully about each question before you answer. If you are unsure about the meaning of any question, please ask us before you respond.
- Answer every question.
- Answer truthfully, accurately and completely. If you are unsure about whether you should include information, please include it.
- Review your application carefully before it is submitted. If someone else helped prepare your application, please check every answer (and if necessary, make any corrections) before the application is submitted.
Changes before your cover starts
Before your cover starts (or before insurance cover is extended, changed or reinstated), we may ask about any changes that mean you would now answer our questions differently. As any changes might require further assessment or investigation, it could save time if you let us know about any changes when they happen.
What can we do if the duty is not met?
If you do not take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation, there are different remedies which may be available to us. We may exercise our rights (under the Benefit Fund Rules and/or otherwise available to us legally) to put us in the position we would have been if you had met your duty.
Failure to meet your duty to take reasonable care may result in the following:
If you fail to comply with your duty and we would not have entered into the insurance contract if you had told us, we may cancel your insurance cover within three years of entering into it.
If we choose not to cancel your insurance cover, we may elect to vary your insurance cover at any time by:
- Reducing the amount of your cover. This would be worked out using a formula that takes into account the premium that would have been paid if you had met your duty to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation (for any Death Benefit under Life Insurance, we may only reduce your cover amount within three years of the commencement date of your cover).
- Varying the terms of your insurance cover in a way that places us in the same position we would have been in if you had met your duty to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation.
If your failure to meet your duty is fraudulent, we may refuse to pay a claim and cancel your insurance cover or any part of it, irrespective of the type of cover, at any time.
Please note that a failure by the life insured (or the life to be insured, as the case may be) to meet the duty will be treated as a failure by the applicant (if a different person to the life to be insured / life insured) to comply with their duty.
- Whether we can exercise any of these rights depends on a number of factors, including:
- whether the person who answered our questions took reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation, depending on all the relevant circumstances;
- whether the misrepresentation or the failure to meet the duty was fraudulent; and
- in some cases, how long it has been since the cover started.
It may also depend on what we would have done, had the duty been met (for example, whether we would have offered cover; and if so, on what terms).
Before we exercise any of the rights described above, we will explain our reasons, how you can respond or provide further information, and what you can do if you disagree.
If, once your cover is in place, you think you may not have met your duty, please contact us immediately to let us know.
Important – Where your cover is replacing existing cover
Where any new cover issued by NobleOak Life Limited has been granted on the basis of replacing existing life insurance cover held with another life insurance provider, that existing cover must be cancelled immediately on the acceptance of the new NobleOak cover. If the existing cover is not cancelled as was indicated and a claim arises, then the replacement cover issued by NobleOak will be null and void as from the inception date and all premiums paid will be refunded.