Q. What is the lawsuit about?
A. The legal actions relate to allegations against London Life and its sales agents/representatives concerning premium offset, policy values and income claims. The courts in the provinces where the actions were commenced approved the settlement and found it to be fair and reasonable and in the best interests of class members.
Q. What is premium offset?
A. Premium offset is the use of annual dividends and policy values to “offset” the requirement of cash premium payments being made.
A premium offset claim is where a policyholder alleges that he or she was told that premium payments could be discontinued on a specified date and that the policy would remain in force.
Q. What’s the difference between “vanishing premium” and “premium off-set”?
A. The two are one and the same thing.
The actual option under the life insurance policy was called a “premium off-set” option.
“Vanishing premiums” is a term used to refer to the “premium off-set” option.
Both terms essentially refer to the fact that it was expected that at some point in time no further cash premium payments would be required by policyholders, ie. that the premiums “off-set” or “vanish”.
Q. Why haven’t I heard about this lawsuit before?
A. You would not have received specific notice about the lawsuit although there were a number of newspaper reports relating to it.
There was press coverage of the matter when the lawsuit was commenced in 1997 and there were subsequent stories reporting on the progress of it.
It is not unusual that you have not heard about the lawsuit before. Class members are not notified until the court directs it.
After a settlement was reached and approved by the courts, the courts directed that notice be given to class members via the direct mailing packages to Current Owners and the newspaper notices published in respect of Former Owners.
To view the newspaper notice to Former Owners, click here.
Q. Am I eligible?
Does my policy qualify?
How does this affect me?
A. You do not need to do anything to be eligible for benefits under the Agreement.
All current policy owners will receive a mailing package/notice from London Life explaining the settlement, the benefits available and the options for policyholders.
London Life began mailing packages to policyholders on August 20, 2002. The mailing of packages is expected to continue to the end of November, 2002 as London Life is required to mail packages to over 500,000 policyholders.
Former Owners of policies have received notice via newspaper notices published in newspapers all across Canada. To see the notice, click here.
Class policies are participating life insurance policies that were issued by London Life in Canada between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1995.
Class policies also include Econolife policies for which clients selected the Econolife dividend option on or before December 31, 1995.
The Equity series of participating life insurance policies, which was discontinued in 1982, is not included.
The settlement includes eligible owners of class policies that are currently in-force or have lapsed or been surrendered on or after January 1, 1992. The settlement does not include policies for which the policy owner has released London Life from claims relating to matters at issue in the class actions.
In general, the actions relate to premium off-set, policy values and income benefits for participating life insurance policies purchased from London Life from 1980 through 1995.
The settlement relates to life insurance policies purchased from London Life. Therefore, former Prudential of America clients whose policies were acquired by London Life in 1996 are not part of the settlement.
We do not have a list of all policyholders/policy numbers from London Life.
To specifically check whether your policy/policies are covered, you must contact the London Life Settlement Information Team at 1-877-562-4334 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 EDT Monday to Friday.
Only London Life can tell you specifically whether your policy/policies are covered.
If you have a specific question about your policy, you should contact the London Life Client Service Center at 1-877-566-5433. A London Life service representative will be able to assist you to discuss any questions/issues concerning your policy.
Q. Do I get enhanced benefits?
How do I qualify for enhanced benefits?
A. The mailing package sent to policyholders will notify policyholders whether they are automatically eligible for Enhanced Benefits. Policyholders should check the Policy Information Statement on Page 2 of the mailing package.
If policyholders do not automatically qualify for Enhanced Benefits, they can apply for them.
Q. What if my policy is lapsed, terminated or surrendered?
Do I need to reinstate my old policy in order to receive benefits?
How do I reinstate my old policy?
A. The settlement provides benefits with respect to terminated policies which are different from those of in-force policies.
Reinstatement changes a terminated policy to an in-force policy.
Your insurance policy includes a time limited right to reinstate. You should contact a London Life Client Service Representative at 1-877-566-5433 for more information about the reinstatement provisions in your policy.
The London Life Client Service Center will not be able to advise you whether you should or should not reinstate your policy, however, they will be able to tell you what your rights are. After you have made that inquiry, we would be happy to attempt to assist you further.
Q. What if I want to change my policy?
Will a change to my policy affect my eligibility under the settlement?
A. You should contact the London Life Client Service Centre for specific information. The number is 1-877-566-5433. The centre operates between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. EDT Monday to Friday.
We recommend that you call London Life and make a specific inquiry regarding your proposed change to the policy.
Once you have obtained that information, we would be happy to attempt to assist you further.
Q. I have a policy issued by Prudential of America. Do I receive benefits under the Agreement?
The settlement only relates to life insurance policies purchased from London Life.
Q. Why aren’t Prudential policies covered?
A. The settlement only relates to life insurance policies purchased from London Life. The Prudential policies were specifically excluded as part of the settlement.
Q. I have a Great West Life policy. Do I receive benefits under the Agreement?
The settlement only relates to life insurance policies purchased from London Life. If you require specific information or have an inquiry regarding your Great West Life policy, you should contact the Great West Life Client Service Center at 1-800-665-0551.
Q. Why aren’t Great West Life policies covered?
A. The settlement only relates to life insurance policies purchased from London Life. The Great West Life policies were specifically excluded as part of the settlement.
Q. I have a policy that is covered. What do I have to do to get benefits?
A. You do not need to do anything now to be eligible to receive benefits under the Settlement Agreement.
Further information will be available to all eligible policyholders including information about the benefits and how to participate. The mailing package sent by London Life to all affected policyholders will explain the settlement, the benefits available to policyholders, etc.
Q. How much will I get?
What do I get?
Do I get a refund of premiums paid?
Will I get premium off-set?
A. It is impossible for us to tell you what you will be entitled to under the Settlement Agreement.
Relief varies based on the type of claim made, the attributes of the policies involved, the proof available, etc.
The mailing package to all Current Owners will explain the benefits and options available to policyholders.
Q. How long will this all take?
When will I receive additional information?
A. London Life’s mailing packages are being sent out to all affected policyholders between late August and late November, 2002.
If you have questions when you receive your mailing package, you can telephone us for further assistance.
Q. Why are there Court actions only in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec? I live in another province — am I covered?
A. Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec were the only three jurisdictions in Canada that had legislation governing class actions at the time these actions commenced. Every eligible policyholder across the country will be part of the settlement regardless of where they live.
Q. Can I opt-out of the settlement if I am not happy with it?
A. You will have the right to opt-out.
You will receive a Court-approved notice with instructions on how to opt-out of the settlement should you wish to do so.
Q. What happens if I do nothing/throw the package away/don’t respond?
A. You will still receive Global Benefits under the settlement and Enhanced Benefits if you automatically qualify for them.
You do not need to do anything to receive the benefits for which you automatically qualify.
All policyholders automatically receive Global Benefits.
Approximately 115,000 policyholders automatically qualify to receive Enhanced Benefits.
Q. I haven’t received my mailing package yet. What do I do?
A. London Life is mailing out packages to Current Owners between late August and late November, 2002.
This mail out period is required since London Life is required to mail out packages to more than 500,000 affected policyholders.
You can call the London Life Settlement Information Team at 1-877-562-4334 to confirm your eligibility and to inquire about the status of mailing.
If you have not yet received your package, you will likely be told that it will be sent to you in due course as packages are being mailed out pursuant to a random computer system and the mailing of your specific package cannot be advanced in the queue.
If you have any concerns about receiving a package (you have moved, address change, etc.), you ought to contact the London Life Settlement Information Team to update the information on file so as to ensure that you receive your direct mailing package.
Q. I received a direct mailing package but am confused. Can someone assist me in understanding the settlement and the options available to me?
A. This is a legal process and it is important that you read all the information you receive and do your best to understand it.
If there is a particular section that you are having trouble with or have specific questions, you may contact our offices at (905) 523-1333 and ask for a member of our London Life Settlement Implementation Team and we will attempt to assist you with your specific questions/concerns.
Q. Once I complete the forms, can I courier them/drop them at a local London Life office/give them to my agent, etc.?
A. Your mailing package includes a postage-paid envelope in which you can mail your forms, or if you wish, deliver them to London Life’s head office Settlement Administration Unit, London, Ontario.
This is a legal requirement of the settlement. They cannot be dropped off at a local office of left with a sales representative.
Q. Should I contact my London Life agent/representative? Can my London Life agent/representative provide me with more information?
A. Your London Life sales agent/representative will not be able to provide you with advice regarding this settlement.
Your London Life sales agent/representative will be able to provide you with information about your policy, policy values, etc.
If your policy is eligible for benefits under the settlement and you elect to participate in the Individual Claims Review Process (ICRP), you may ask your sales agent/representative to sign a statement supporting your claim.
Q. How do I contact the British Columbia lawyers?
A. The law firm is Poyner Baxter Poyner. The lawyers are James Poyner and Kenneth Baxter. You can contact them at (604) 988-6321 or at #408-145 Chadwick Court, North Vancouver, B.C., V7M 3KI. You can also visit their website at www.poynerbaxter.com.
Poyner Baxter Poyner are handling implementation of the settlement for residence of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Territories.
Q. How do I contact the Quebec lawyers?
A. The law firm is Lauzon Belanger. The lawyers are Yves Lauzon and Gilles Gareau. You can contact them at (514) 844-4646 or at 511, Place D’Armes, bureau 200, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2W7. You can also visit their website at www.lauzonbelanger.qc.ca.
Lauzon Belanger is handling the implementation of the settlement for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, News Brunswick and Quebec.
Q. How do I contact London Life’s lawyers?
A. The Ontario law firm for London Life is Torys. The lawyer is Wendy Matheson. She can be contacted at (416) 865-8133 or by mail at Suite 3000, Aetna Tower Toronto-Dominion Centre, 79 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5K 1N2.
The British Columbia law firm acting for London Life is Nathanson Schachter & Thompson. The lawyer is Irwin Nathanson. His phone number is (604) 662-8840. His mailing address is 750 – 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6Z 2M4.
The Quebec law firm acting for London Life is McCarthy Tetrault. The lawyer is Julie Chenette. Her phone number is (514) 397-4228. Her mailing address is Le Windsor, 1170, rue Peel, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 4S8.