Friends Life (@FriendsLifeTalk): Pay out Nic Hughes' critical illness policy #NicsFight
  • Petitioned Andy Briggs

This petition was delivered to:

Group Chief Executive Officer, Friends Life
Andy Briggs
Friends Life
Press Office
Friends Life
Complaints Department
UK Chief Executive, Friends Life
David Hynam

Friends Life (@FriendsLifeTalk): Pay out Nic Hughes' critical illness policy #NicsFight

    1. Kester Brewin
    2. Petition by

      Kester Brewin

      London, United Kingdom

April 2013


We won. We did it - #NicsFight has become #NicsWin! Last night we heard the fantastic news that Friends Life would be paying Nic's family what they're owed.

In late December we handed our petition of more than 60,000 names to the offices of Friends Life, asking them to meet with the Hughes family and sit down to resolve this case. But they refused, demanding instead that a submission be made to the Financial Ombudsman.

This was a huge task - assembling paperwork, retrieving documents, getting files from doctors - all while Nic's widow should have been free to grieve and spend time with their children. But in their resolute and dignified way, and bolstered by the huge waves of support from signers of our petition on, the family put their case forward.

It is with enormous joy and relief that they heard yesterday that the Financial Ombudsman had found entirely in their favour, writing:

"I explained to the firm that in my view it should not have cancelled the policy and declined the claim for the reasons it did. [Friends Life] accepts that any non-disclosure was not deliberate or relevant to the claim he later made – so the firm accepts it was not entitled to rely on that and it should have paid the critical illness claim when it was submitted."

This is a fantastic victory! It is also a huge vindication of the campaign and of the family's fight against a massive corporation who felt they could simply be cast aside. The Ombudsman have found entirely in the family's favour, and Friends Life will now be paying out on the policy in full.

The family want to express their enormous thanks to everyone who signed the petition and acted to publicise the campaign. This is a victory for all of us - for the common people who stood up and refused to be trampled on by big corporations. You made sure that Friends Life could not quietly get away with this terrible injustice.

We took on Goliath and won.

Nic was my best friend. He was a hugely talented guy, a fantastic dad and a loving husband. Nic died of cancer in October aged just 44 years old.

Instead of focusing on his family in his last few months of life, he was forced to spend it battling his life insurance firm Friends Life over his critical illness policy. Despite declaring all previous illnesses, conditions Friends Life cancelled his policy. Nic was convinced that he had given them full disclosure and that when they offered him the policy, they had done their checks. To put it simply, he died of cancer, but they refused to pay over pins and needles. His consultant is outraged at the way Friends Life have treated Nic, and has written to Friends Life, saying: "I think it cruel and highly distasteful that two irrelevant details from his medical history have been used as some sort of pretext to deny him a payment on his critical illness policy."

This has left his wife and kids inheriting a needless battle. Nic was unsure of how this battle would turn out  - but I want to try and win it in his memory.

That’s why I’ve started a petition on demanding that Friends Life pay Nic’s family the money they are owed.

This petition won’t bring Nic back. But it could make a real difference to his family’s future. Please join me in telling Friends Life to do the right thing.

You can read more about this case here in The Observer The Daily Mail have covered it too.

Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, Margaret Atwood, Miranda Hart, Ian Botham and Boy George, Alistair Campbell and Kirsty Gallacher have all tweeted about it too, as have many many others, reaching 10's of millions of followers.

Please sign to help change minds - people not profits. You can like our page on Facebook to get more updates, and find actions you can take on our website.

Thank you so much.

Recent signatures


    1. Submission made to Financial Ombudsman... But pressure still on FL!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Very mixed emotions hearing that the submission to the Financial Ombudsman has been posted today.

      It was a huge task preparing it, and it has been very stressful for the family - and now anxious for the next few months while the case is heard.

      This was utterly unnecessary. The FO is there for when parties cannot resolved a dispute - but Friends Life *totally refused* to sit down and talk with the family - a classic case of a big-money corporation trying to bully everyday people. It's disgusting the way they have tried to swat the Hughes family, and refused to engage with them in any meaningful way.

      They have begun tweeting again - and I think it would be brilliant to show them just how much anger there is about their behaviour, and how strong the feeling is against their brand. They are like dirt at the moment - and we know that the whole sector is watching this case VERY carefully!

      Please tweet them and keep sharing... thank you SO much!! #NicsFight

    2. 60,000 - and rising!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so much again for all the support you have all shown for this incredible cause. We have been blown away by it all!

      Have a great Christmas... We at NicsFight are working hard on next stages of the campaign, and are already very fired up for taking this to the next level in 2013.

      Do consider 'liking' the NicsFight page on Facebook:


      Pay Up Friends Life: Justice for Nic Hughes' Family

      Nic was my best friend. He was a hugely talented guy, a fantastic dad and a loving husband. Nic...


      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      That, according to, is 'phenomenal.' Thank you everyone for all you've done to bring this campaign to national attention.

      There are big things coming, but all we want is one small act: for CEO to accept the family's invitation to sit down in this season of good will, and find resolution to this dispute without resorting to distressing and protracted - and expensive - legal processes.

      That is surely not too much to ask? Not when 50,000 people are asking together?

      Please keep sending the cards and emails! Details here

    4. Reached 50,000 signatures
    5. 7 days on - THANK YOU for such an amazing response!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Exactly one week ago we started a petition to support the family of our brilliant and much-missed friend Nic Hughes as they battled for a just pay-out from Friends Life insurers.

      In just 7 days we have collected nearly 50,000 signatures, had articles in national newspapers, seen tweets from major celebrities spreading the message of NicsFight to around 20 million people.

      In response, we've had three tweets, and a bland statement in legal-ese.

      But we know they are listening, and know that their business is being hurt by this.

      We have done much in 7 days, but our friend is lost forever and his family will need support for years to come. So we will not give up. We will do all we can, because we can and because we know what is right, and we have some huge media coverage in the pipeline!

      Thank you for joining us. Please keep sharing this campaign, keep people signing and contacting Friends Life. We are only just beginning!

      Love from all at #NicsFight.

    6. Alternate Email...

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      You can also try
      Please share!

    7. Great work on Christmas cards - their mailbox is full!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Fantastic work sending Christmas cards everyone - we are getting reports that the Friends Life email address we gave is now bouncing back and saying it's full, so do use instead. Please remain polite but firm in any correspondance, and please keep sharing and signing!

      Fantastic to welcome Jemima Khan, Mike Joyce of The Smiths and Graham Linehan - writer of Father Ted - to the NicsFight campaign. With others today they have spread the word to more than half a million people. Pressure continuing to build on the company. Please do all you can to encourage them to do the right thing soon. THANK YOU!

    8. Thank you new signers! Look out for emails tomorrow...

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks to the many hundreds of people who have added their voices to the NicsFight cause today - it's great to have you with us!

      Been another amazing day, with coverage in the print media, as well as great stories in online press about the strength of the campaign. We've reached over 500,000 more people through supportive tweets from Al Murray, Dave Stewart, Rebecca Front and many many others, and are hearing of lots of policies cancelled.

      Hope you've all clicked on to see the campaign actions you can take, with the beautiful Christmas card to send to Friends Life.

      Look out for emails from with more information tomorrow - and rest assured, we are working away behind the scenes on some VERY big coverage! THANK YOU!

    9. just launched | Follow-up story in The Guardian today!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      VERY EXCITED to announce the launch of - lots of campaign ideas, including a brilliant Christmas Card for you to download and send to Friends Life.Will be more things added every day!

      PLEASE share this widely on your timelines, message people, tweet and email - we want them to have thousands by tomorrow!

      Also, brilliant to see The Guardian following up their story last week with a new piece highlighting the phenomenal success of this campaign. Well done everyone!

    10. So good to have Margaret Atwood with us!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so much to the wonderful author Margaret Atwood supporting the campaign, bringing it to the attention of her 360,000 followers. Nic was so fond of her books. A great woman.

      More and more signatures coming all the time, and lots going on in the background. Thank you all!

    11. Working hard this weekend...

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Me and Nic's other friends are going to be working really hard on the campaign this weekend. Watch out for BIG updates tomorrow, with things we'll be calling on people to do to apply more pressure on Friends Life.

      Thanks to Jeremy Hardy and Alistair Campbell and so many others for support! Please please keep sharing, tweeting and signing, and do like our Facebook page for regular updates: and follow or too.

      THANK YOU AGAIN! We have all been so moved by the level of support.

    12. Say hi to Friends Life CEO, Andy Briggs

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks Rachael Taylor for passing on Andy Briggs' email address, CEO of Friends Life. It's Please do get in touch with him about #NicsFight. Be nice. Firm, but nice. And please please share as widely as possible!

      We have lots planned for the coming week. This is only going to get stronger. Support is so broad, and getting stronger by the minute. THANK YOU!

    13. Brilliant work on the phones!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      THANK YOU everyone who is phoning, and thank you for being polite to the people who are working the phones for Friends Life. We're sorry to be giving them a tough day - our fight is not with them, but with the suits and technocrats who are refusing to do what is right for the Hughes family.

      Please keep applying pressure. We now welcome Ian Botham and Alistair Campbell to the campaign, bringing Friends Life's awful behaviour to the attention of hundreds of thousands more people.

      Let's keep fighting for Nic - and the other 1 in 10 people Friends Life have admitted they don't pay out critical illness cover to. This campaign is embarrassing them and their hedge fund owners, and costing them dear.

      To think they were set up by Quakers... The ground is shaking again!

    14. Nics Fight in the Daily Mail today

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      You might not agree with everything she's ever said - and we certainly don't - but Jan Moir has come out fighting for Nic today, both online and in the print edition of the Daily Mail today.

      That's A LOT of readers. Friends Life will HATE this. All they need to do to make it stop is pick up the phone...

      These vultures are happy enough to accept people’s weekly or monthly payments for years and years — but will do everything to wriggle out of their obligation.

      Article here - scroll down a bit when you click

    15. Say hello to Alex - PR man for Resolution!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Alex Child-Villiers, PR man for Friends Life owners Resolution seemed a nice guy when I called him earlier. Found him by clicking through here: Friends Life are really giving him a bad day! Say hello to cheer him up, and may be encourage him to get them to do the right thing.

      42000 people in support - 1 reputation in tatters! Thank you!

    16. Big day today! Lots of media coverage coming

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      But let's not forget the personal story. Nic was a great writer and artist. This is one of the last pieces he produced: 'Some things cannot be stolen.'

      To read what he wrote about his cancer, click on and scroll down to 18th June.

      Some things cannot be stolen. But some things can. Let's not let Friends Life get away with this!

      Thank you again for all you are doing!

    17. 40,000 strong - and still going!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Brilliant work everyone - thank you! 40,000 people have shown how angry they are at Friends Life. And tomorrow we will be on BBC 5 Live at 1030am to talk more about the campaign. The pressure is building!

      Please keep sharing and posting and tweeting. We know they are listening, and are very worried. Their reputation is in TATTERS.

      Friends Life is owned by Resolution, 'a Guernsey-incorporated investment vehicle.' They will not be happy about the money they are losing on this. Let's help them to make the right decision and pay what they owe now.

      Thank you!

    18. Reached 40,000 signatures
    19. Shareholders Expressing Concerns about reputation

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Getting reports that shareholders have been contacting Friends Life to express serious concerns about damage being done to the reputation of the business. Absolutely!

      Any more shareholders out there? Phone FL on 0800 000 080 or email them on to express your disgust!

      They will have had around 10,000 emails from campaigners already in the last 24 hours - keep piling it on!

    20. Let's push for 50,000 by tomorrow morning!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to say FIFTY THOUSAND signatures when talking on the BBC tomorrow? Five Live. 1030am. That's our target - we can do it! Please keep sharing - the signatures and support messages are coming in so quickly!

    21. Reached 35,000 signatures
    22. SHAME ON FRIENDS LIFE: Have contacted family and are refusing to settle.

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Absolutely disgusting news. Pressure really needs to step up now. Tens of thousands of people have expressed their outrage at this company's decision. A company founded on Quaker values, founded on the case of a man who died young, leaving his family with no means of support.

      Please, get angry. Get posting. Get tweeting. Get on their backs. They cannot be allowed to think this acceptable.

      Thank you!

    23. Reached 30,000 signatures
    24. The widest possible coalition of support!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      We now have bishops, the Daily Mail, Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, Miranda Hart, charities, the BBC and 30,000 people in support of this cause. When these diverse groups of people come together to fight, you KNOW the cause is just! Please keep sharing and pressuring. They are very very aware of the campaign! Thank you!!

    25. Daily Mail now reporting on the story - And over 26,000 signatures!

      Kester Brewin
      Petition Organizer

      Really good supportive piece in the Daily Mail. Pressure on Friends Life rising fast. Please keep signing, tweeting and sharing!
      Here is how the Daily Mail are reporting it:



    Dec 08, 2012

    Nic Hughes died of cancer, insurance wont pay due to pins & needles. Please ask @friendslifetalk to do right thing:

    Kirsty Gallacher


    Dec 08, 2012

    Health insurance horror RT @SplendidSi: @jonronson could you please spare a mo to read/sign/tweet please #nicsfight



    Dec 06, 2012

    Man dies of cancer, insurance won’t pay due to pins and needles. Please ask @FriendsLifeTalk to do right thing here:

    Miranda Hart


    Dec 06, 2012

    I know people send around plenty of petitions on twitter but this is genuinely worth a look

    Dan Walker


    Dec 04, 2012

    Please sign & RT. Make @friendslifetalk see sense. They tore up a dying man's policy over pins & needles #NOfriendslife

    Simon Thomas


    Dec 04, 2012

    Man dies of cancer, insurance won’t pay due to pins and needles. Please ask @friendslifetalk to do right thing here:

    Stephen Fry

    Reasons for signing

      • over 1 year ago
      • over 1 year ago

      Companies that profit on the misfortune of others have no place in a modern society. If they cannot see this and forge on anyway they deserve the spotlight of social media and the resultant public outrage!

    • Emma Naisbitt WHITBY, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 1 year ago

      These heartless thieving scumbags need stopping!

      • over 1 year ago

      How disgusting that he had to spend the end of his life fighting this. Good luck to his friend in the continued fight

    • Caryn Puetz RACELAND, LA
      • over 1 year ago

      What a disgusting, distasteful move this insurance company has made. This is the epitome of evil.


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