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Man whose wife died falls into arrears after PTSB delays in issuing paperwork

Bank responds to Irish Times query by introducing moratorium on mortgage and backdating it so the mortgage is no longer showing as being in arrears

We have an expectation – misplaced or otherwise – that companies will do the right thing in the best of times but that expectation becomes an imperative at the worst of times and there are no worse times than the loss of a loved one. That is what the manner in which a reader was treated by PTSB in recent times is so shocking.

Last autumn our reader’s wife passed away at a very young age. The couple had a life insurance policy on the mortgage on their home and when the reader contacted us last week he was still waiting for the claim to be processed.

“In 1999 we signed this life insurance policy with Eagle Star, who were acquired by Zurich,” our reader writes. That company was informed of his wife’s death several weeks after it happened. “I have called both PTSB and Zurich multiple times regarding our mortgage. I don’t know what else to do, hence why I am writing to you today. Our mortgage was acquired from First Active by Ulster Bank in 2005, who then sold it to PTSB, who appointed Pepper to administer our account,” he says

In November he submitted all the required paperwork to a PTSB branch in Athlone – included was the death cert, the marriage cert and a copy of the policy document.


In December he was told by Zurich “that they were waiting for the deed of assignment from PTSB, despite writing to PTSB for deed of assignment previously”.

In late January he got another email from Zurich telling him they were “still waiting for the deed of assignment”.

The story gets even worse.

Days later PTSB “sent me a letter stating my mortgage is in arrears despite having a valid claim on the life policy, that they are delaying”.

He pointed out that as he stopped paying his mortgage at the end of last year, the failure of PTSB to send the documentation to Zurich would see his credit rating impacted. “I feel deeply annoyed about this. My solicitor has written to Zurich and PTSB. Can you help me and try to get PTSB to do their job?”

We could certainly try.

We mailed the company details of our story and days later received a statement.

“Managing sensitive issues like this when a customer is dealing with the distress of a bereavement is of the utmost importance and in this instance it is clear that the customer’s experience has fallen short of our normal standards,” a spokeswoman said. “We are investigating this matter as a priority and have already reached out to the customer to ensure the matter is fully resolved as soon as possible.

“Following your email, we have been in touch with the customer directly to apologise and to make sure that the situation is resolved as quickly as possible. As a first step we have introduced a moratorium on the relevant mortgage and we have backdated it so that the mortgage is no longer showing as being in arrears. The moratorium will mean that repayments on the mortgage are paused while the mortgage protection claim is assessed and the matter is concluded.

“PTSB has a dedicated team to manage the situation of customers who have been bereaved. While a customer will submit a claim on foot of a mortgage protection policy to the bank (where it is the beneficiary of that policy), the bank must then submit that claim to the relevant life assurance company who provided the policy and it is for them to adjudicate on the claim itself. This can take some time depending on the individual circumstances, which is why we normally apply moratoriums to the relevant mortgage.”

Separately we heard back from our reader, who said Pepper – which manages the loan – had been told that Zurich was in the process of issuing a cheque to cover the outstanding mortgage.

If you have a query or a complaint about a company or service or feel you have been let down or mistreated and would like us to look into it please mail