PRACTICE – PKF scraps its private insurer after dispute

The Worcester office of Pannell Kerr Forster has dumped its private health insurer, despite arguing the company dealt fairly with a former partner who was denied a large part of his insurance claim, writes Phillip Inman.

The firm ended the policy, which covered the eight partners and several managers at the office, following a dispute between Derek Turner, a former audit partner, and its insurer Permanent Insurance. The dispute, which was revealed in Accountancy Age last week, was settled last year.

Turner has since accused the insurer of pressurising him into a deal that amounted to half the money he was due under the policy. He said he has subsequently discovered the company failed to act on medical evidence from its own experts that supported his claim.

Turner also said PKF, which was unavailable for comment, had abandoned him and was shocked when it demanded he return half the #20,000 legal costs incurred during the dispute. He was diagnosed with spondylitis, a severe form of arthritis, by a neurological specialist in the spring of 1995.

Permanent Insurance said it settled the case in good faith. Managing director Andrew Chapman added: ‘I refute any suggestion that we acted improperly at any stage.’

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