Obese woman loses insurance claim after giving wrong weight

overweight obese woman
She said she weighed 54kg when she actually weighed 119kg (file)

An obese woman has lost a claim on her life insurance after giving the wrong weight - nearly half as much as she actually weighed.

When she filled out a form asking for medical and personal information, it asked for height and weight in centimetres and kilograms respectively.

The woman wrote "1.6" for height and "119" for weight, clarifying the measurements with "m" and "lbs" above the numbers.

But when she claimed the $50,000 disability benefit on her policy five years later, after she was diagnosed with cancer, a blunder was uncovered.

The woman didn't weigh 119lbs (54kg) as she had written - she weighed 119kg.

Her claim was denied and her policy cancelled, with the bank saying it wouldn't have offered insurance if it knew her actual weight.

Despite the bank offering to refund her premiums of around $5000 out of sympathy, the woman complained to the New Zealand Banking Ombudsman.

"We didn't agree that the bank should have known the weight stated on the form was incorrect because it was her responsibility to ensure she supplied correct information, and the bank was entitled to rely on the information she gave," the Ombudsman said.

Due to the extreme variance between the woman's supplied and actual weight, it was ruled the bank had the right to refuse to honour the policy.

"Her weight was material to the decision about whether to provide insurance cover - knowing her true weight, the bank would not have offered her disability cover and would have required a higher premium for the life cover," the Ombudsman said.

"Ms U either knew 119lbs was incorrect or was reckless about whether this was correct when she filled in the form."

She has since been offered further compensation from the bank, as well as the refunded premiums, which the woman has accepted.