Friends Life Insurance Nic Hughes Social Media Twitter

Late Insurance Customer’s Wife Wins £100k Claim with Twitter, Social Media, Stephen Fry

After 5 months of an active social media campaign on twitter, the wife of a late Friends Life insurance customer won £100K claim with the support of Stephen Fry and over 63K signatures on

Friends Life Insurance Nic Hughes Social Media TwitterNic Hughes of Brantham, 44, died of cancer of the gall bladder last October. Prior to his death, he learned that Friends Life (@FriendsLifeTalk) had cancelled his insurance policy on claims of failure to declare other symptoms that may disqualify him.

The Suffolk family argued that Hughes qualified all the necessary pre-policy checks. However, the Friends Life said that Hughes only disclosed his ulcerative colitis. He failed to reveal his misery of pins and needles, as well as the doctor’s advice to reduce his alcohol intake.

According to the supportive letters sent to the insurance company, doctors asserted that the pins and needles and alcohol intake did not cause his death.

63,000+ Signatures on

The petition on, Friends Life (@FriendsLifeTalk): Pay out Nic Hughes’ critical illness policy #NicsFight, was posted by Hughes’ best friend, Kester Brewin who wrote to Andy Briggs – Group and UK CEO of Friends Life. Stephen Fry’s campaign and the people who signed the online petition demanded Friends Life to pay.

“Nic was my best friend. He was a hugely talented guy, a fantastic dad and a loving husband. Nic died of cancer in October aged just 44 years old.

Instead of focusing on his family in his last few months of life, he was forced to spend it battling his life insurance firm Friends Life over his critical illness policy. Despite declaring all previous illnesses, conditions Friends Life cancelled his policy. Nic was convinced that he had given them full disclosure and that when they offered him the policy, they had done their checks. To put it simply, he died of cancer, but they refused to pay over pins and needles. His consultant is outraged at the way Friends Life have treated Nic, and has written to Friends Life, saying: “I think it cruel and highly distasteful that two irrelevant details from his medical history have been used as some sort of pretext to deny him a payment on his critical illness policy.

Twitter Campaign

The petition was coupled with an active twitter campaign via the hashtag #NicsFight.

Friends Life Insurance Nic Hughes Twitter NicsFight


The petition gathers a number of influential high profile supporters including Stephen Fry and by extension at least thousands of his 5.7 million twitter followers.

Friends Life Insurance Nic Hughes Supporters Stephen Fry

Over 63,000 sympathized with the family and joined the petition. Here are some of the supporters’ reasons:

  • Sir Ted Trumpet
    This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour by a company who revelled in pre-tax profits of £722m in 2011
  • Peter Watkinson
    Because what they are doing is morally wrong. Stop screwing the little man because you have made bad investments and want to pay huge dividends to your shareholders.
    On Thursday, Ms Hancock took the case and the financial ombudsman ruled the policy to be wrongly cancelled. Friends Life agreed to pay the £100,000 claim in full, plus interest.

David £100k, Goliath 0

Friends Life Spokesperson: “We committed to abide by the Financial Ombudsman Service’s (FOS) decision and, while we continue to have concerns about this case, we are sympathetic to the circumstances of Mr Hughes’ family and believe it would be unfair to prolong the claim process any further. Therefore, rather than refer this case to a senior Ombudsman for review, we are making a payment to the family for the full value of the claim, plus interest. This is in addition to the ex-gratia payment already made.”

Covered by my Visible Banking Team


Clearly social media played a big part in this case. How will insurance companies deal with claims that have become viral in the social media world? As an insurance customer however, will this case give regular customers the power to stand up against big insurance companies that try to take advantage of their customers?

We invite you to share your thoughts about social media in the insurance industry, here or on twitter.

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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