Sun Life does have the funds to pay. But it’s not the staff and systems, it’s the customer care that’s terrible: TONY HETHERINGTON investigates

Tony Hetherington is the chief investigator of the Financial Mail on Sunday, fighting the corners of readers, uncovering the truth behind closed doors and defeating those left out of pocket. Find out how to contact him below.

Ms. PC writes: My parents had a Sun Life Financial of Canada policy that was payable upon their death. The second death was the mother’s, at the beginning of February this year.

The company was informed within a few days but we are still waiting for the payment. He doesn’t answer emails or pick up the phone after 4pm and despite promising to call back, never does.

His customer care is terrible. We were told that the payment was approved in May, but there has been no progress since then. Now we wonder if he has the funds.

Huge delay: Sun Life has yet to pay six months after the policyholder’s death

Tony Hetherington replies: The easy part of this situation was to say yes, the company (which is not like a UK company called SunLife Ltd) does have the funds to pay out the £126,427 owed to you and your sister after the death of both parents .

It is the internal administration of Sun Life Financial of Canada that creates problem after problem.

You notified the firm and filed a policy claim in February. In April, you got a call saying you had a lot of lawsuits.

You called twice in May and got no answer. At the end of my phone call, they answered and said they would call back within five days, but the call never came. In June, you were told that your claim was in the queue and would be paid “any day now”. But in August, you were told that your claim was still pending resolution.

Later in August, you were told that the lawsuit would be “increased.” However, at the end of August you were told that your claim was in the “recommendation team” due to its importance and would be dealt with in the following days, which of course it was not.

I relayed all of this to Sun Life Financial and asked what was causing such a serious number of claims. I asked the company to explain why you were told in August that your claim was pending approval when you were told in June that it was in the queue for payment.

The responses are a mix of technical glitches and human error. The company told me, “In November 2021, we completed the migration of our customer and policy administration services to the new system.”

This involved the transfer of over 470,000 records and was not entirely successful, meaning that some policy values ​​had to be calculated manually, which in turn meant finding and hiring qualified staff. This led to a backlog. But why has your claim been delayed for so long?

I was told, “The case of Ms. S. is exceptional and especially sad because we had to pay for this loss in June.”

Given its high value, your claim must be authorized by a high-ranking official. The records showed that this authorization was requested, but your claim was never actually passed on to the right person. The company told me, “This is the result of human error. We will learn from this.”

After I contacted him, Sun Life Financial contacted you to apologize. He has now paid £127,015 with interest and separately sent you a check for £500 to apologize for the distress and inconvenience.

If you believe you have been a victim of financial fraud, please write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email Due to the high volume of requests, personal responses cannot be given. Please send only copies of the original documents, which are unfortunately non-refundable.