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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Actuaries lead class action for policyholders

From Canada we learn that London Life Insurance policyholders, whose money was used to help finance the company’s purchase by Great-West Lifeco in 1997, may sue as a group in an attempt to recover more than C$500m (US$505m).

Ontario Superior Court of Justice regional senior judge Lynne Leitch certified the class-action lawsuit, which involves about 1.78 million policyholders, in a ruling released late February. In court documents, plaintiffs D’Alton Rudd, a former chief actuary of London Life, and James Jeffery, a former corporate actuary at the insurer, said that the company used about C$220m from policyholders’ accounts to help pay for the C$1.95bn acquisition by Great-West.

They are asking the court to rescind the transactions and order Great-West to pay a dividend to recover the money and lost interest. The transactions “were a sham amounting to a scheme to do indirectly what could not be done directly — that is to use assets of the participating policyholders to provide financial assistance to Great-West,” the plaintiffs alleged.