Lloyds Bank is behaving like a bully to those with MND – discriminatory, unjust, and cruel
I’m doing everything I can to push back the frontiers of how we can maximise the quality of life for those with MND – and other disabilities. And I’m getting wonderful support from across the board.
Except from Lloyds Bank.
I’ve been a customer of Lloyds for thirty years. I’ve had Travel Insurance from them for ten years, and never once claimed.
I decided that it would be tremendously therapeutic to book a Caribbean cruise to banish the spectre that I could no longer travel. P&O were extremely helpful, found me a wheelchair-accessible cabin, and reassured me that at every port they could look after me. Fantastic.
I dutifully rang Lloyds Bank Travel Insurance to alert them to my travel plans and my recent diagnosis and ask if I would have to pay any higher premium than usual. [As I’m only in early-stage MND, my only significant symptoms are weak legs. And my medical team confirmed that other than walking I should have no medical problems at all.] I spent a total of about one hour answering questions on the phone.
The next day, a computerised letter arrived telling me that, based on the outcome of medical screenings, my Travel Insurance was DECLINED. No explanation other than ‘Motor Neurone Disease’.
Lloyds rang me a few days later – I recorded the call – and repeatedly confirmed that whoever I spoke to they could provide no further information about why I had been declined. They clarified that they made their decision based on the current Severity of my condition, Where I was going, and When I was going there. I pointed out that I currently had the least-severe symptoms of MND and that I knew that they insured people with far riskier chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease) who travelled to the Caribbean and who often booked far more than nine months in advance as I had. Therefore, I suggested, the only logical conclusion was that Lloyds were declining me simply because I had MND – of any severity. They agreed that this was the logical conclusion – and could not offer me any alternative one.
To be fair, they did offer me the number for the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, saying that they might be able to suggest someone who would insure me…
There is no scientific basis for what Lloyds (they actually insure via AXA) are doing. And I assume they are doing it with everyone who has MND – even those, like me, in the very early stages. Lloyds are utterly unfairly discriminating against us. They’re not even bothering to quote an outlandish premium. Just declining us. After all, there are so few of us (around 1 in 100,000) that Lloyds can, I guess, simply choose not to be bothered about losing our business. I can only think that it costs them less to lose us than to bother working out an appropriate premium.
But that is unfair. And it’s cruel.
I assume that, with enough detective work, I will be able to track down some form of travel insurance somewhere (although I really have some higher-priority issues – such as finding an affordable Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle). At least, I certainly hope there’s suitable insurance out there. But what about all those recently diagnosed with MND who are not feeling as mentally resilient as I currently am. Can you imagine what a callous slap in the face it feels like – just after receiving a terrifying diagnosis – to be told that even your dream of getting away for a (possibly-final) break is to be dashed by a hugely-wealthy financial institution that just can’t be bothered about you?
I simply can’t believe in such a humane country as the UK that such institutionalised inhumanity even exists. Of course, Lloyds’ business decision is legal. But I cannot accept that it is just. And I cannot believe that public opinion would consider such an attitude worthy of an institution that until very recently depended so much on taxpayer funds.
In summary, Lloyds’ behaviour may be legal – but it is discriminatory, unjust, and cruel. Ultimately, it is the behaviour of a bully. It needs to be changed. For everybody with MND.