Caister mum fights for son's insurance

PUBLISHED: 09:35 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 30 June 2010

A CAISTER grandmother has started a legal battle against an American software firm to claim £350,000 she believes her son's family is owed following his death.

A CAISTER grandmother has started a legal battle against an American software firm to claim £350,000 she believes her son's family is owed following his death.

Audrey Hahn, 73, of Caister, will be going to the High Court in London in November after a writ was issued against Maidenhead-based company Informatica claiming the firm owes the money in death-in-service benefits following the death of Jonathan Ruangrua, aged 42.

She wants the money to go to Mr Ruangrua's Thai-born second wife Suzie, 38 and Jessica Hahn, 15, his daughter from his first marriage, who Mrs Hahn said had been left destitute by Informatica's refusal to pay out.

Mr Ruangrua died on February 4 2007 from a condition known as anti-trypsin deficiency which attacks the blood and lungs, causing shortness of breath and asthma attacks.

However, Informatica's insurer Canada Life has refused to pay out saying he should have told them about alcohol problems he had before entering the scheme.

Mrs Hahn's solicitor Tony Bertin said he did not have to disclose his previous medical history before entering the life insurance scheme and that, having admitted him, Informatica was obliged to pay out.

He added if a family or individual was taking out life insurance, the insurer could have good grounds to refuse entry if they were a liability based on their previous history.

However, when it was company insurance involved, Mr Bertin said the scheme had to take into account both good and bad risks.

He said: “It is classed as discretionary benefit. The company does not have to give it. In your terms of service, there is life insurance as part of your service. What we say is that a company or an insurance company can if they wish medical someone at the start of their employment and say you don't fulfil our criteria, we are not going to admit you to the scheme.

“Having admitted him to the scheme you can not then say you have got health problems, we are not going to pay out.”

Rugby mad Mr Ruangrua, who was born in Northampton and raised in Shropshire, first started showing symptoms of the condition in 2006 when he had trouble eating, suffering from pernicious anemia and asthma.

The condition forced the former soldier, who lived with Suzie in Daventry, to leave his work as a panel manager with Informatica 14 months after he started in March 2005.

Mrs Hahn said: “He was the nicest person, he would do anything for anybody. He had a heart of gold.”

Informatica declined to comment.

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