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Expatriate Workers – Are You Properly Insured?

In a warning to expatriate workers that the small print of their employers’ insurance policies needs careful perusal before they move abroad, the widow of an IT specialist discovered that her husband was not covered when he died in a road accident after being sent to work in India.

The man had worked in England for a UK company and had benefited from an insurance policy which promised to pay out substantial sums to his loved ones if he died in service. However, the policy also stated that death benefits would only be paid if an employee was ordinarily employed and resident in the UK at the time of his death.

As part of the company’s expansion drive into the Indian market, the man had been given a post in Hyderabad and moved there with his family. He informed HM Revenue and Customs that he was leaving the country for at least one full tax year and the latter confirmed that he would be regarded as a non-UK resident for tax purposes. He was fatally injured six months after moving to the subcontinent.

His widow sought a declaration that he was covered by the policy and that death benefits should therefore be paid to her as his sole heir.  However, in dismissing her claim, the High Court found on the evidence that he was neither ordinarily resident, nor ordinarily employed, in the UK at the time of his death.