It is often said that insurance companies do not like paying out and, in one case that lent support to that assertion, an insurer put private detectives on the tail of a chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer but utterly failed to prove that he had lied and faked his condition.
The case concerned a successful financier who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome after suffering an apparently minor chest infection. He had to give up work and made a claim on his income protection policy. The insurer paid out for four years before ceasing payments on the basis that there was nothing wrong with him. He responded by launching proceedings to enforce the policy.
The insurer relied on covert video evidence shot during five separate periods. The footage showed the man out shopping, in the pub with friends and attending his daughter's nativity play, amongst other things. He was accused of being a downright liar and having attempted to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.
In rejecting those allegations, however, the High Court found that the video evidence fell very far short of undermining the man's case. Noting that he would have had to be a very good actor in order to deceive so many, including his friends and family, for so long, the Court found that there was nothing inherently implausible about his account that he had good and bad days.
The Court's decision means that the insurer is obliged to pay him about £300,000 to cover the period since his payments ceased. If he continues to be incapable of working until he reaches pension age, the policy will yield a total of about £2.4 million.