What would you do if your insurance company had sent you a letter telling you that your home was paid off and that you would be getting a large check in the next few days?
Elaine Wood was greeted with this message in a postal letter she received. It also told her that her husband, Harry, was dead. Harry had left for work just a few hours earlier that day. Mrs. Wood was in shock.
She ran to the phone and called up the paper mill that he husband worked for and confirmed that he was alive and well.
Given the opportunity to live mortgage-free, some hard-pressed homeowners would have been unable to resist playing along. But the Woods are law-abiding, so Mr Wood, 52, contacted their insurers and building society to convince them that- in the words of Monty Python – ‘ I’m not quite dead yet.’
The letter from Norwich Union, a British insurance company, with whom the Woods have life insurance, arrived on May 23. It began: “I am sorry to learn of the death of your husband on 17 April 2007 and offer my severe condolences.”
The letter told 46-year-old Mrs Wood that in line with the policy, the remaining £30,000 or so of their mortgage was being paid off and she would receive a check for £25,000.
Mr Wood said: “I rang Norwich Union and the adviser said, ‘I’ve got your death certificate in front of me’. “It had my full name and my date of birth. I told him I was definitely alive and eventually he said, ‘I think there’s been a bit of a mistake’.”
A spokesman for the firm said: “A mistake was made when we received a death certificate for a person with the same name and the same date of birth as Mr Wood.
The Woods received a bunch of flowers and a case of wine from Norwich Union by way of apology.