GERRY RYAN'S life insurance policy issuer is unlikely now to pay out as the small print of such policies usually states that if a person dies as a consequence of "participation in illegal activity" the contract is not valid.

The presence of cocaine within his system qualifies as "participation in illegal activity", insurance and legal sources told the Sunday Tribune.

In the cases of suicide, the vast majority of life insurance companies now pay out to the families of the deceased, but the rule is often in place that the person must have taken out the policy at least 13 months before their death.

Most people obtain a life insurance policy worth at least four times their annual salary but can secure one up to 10 times their annual salary. It is known that Ryan had severe financial difficulties and had debts of €355,000 despite his 2009 salary of €567,000.

The verdict of misadventure is not expected to have any impact on the life insurance policy.

However, in 2006, a man took legal action over the failure of a life insurance company to pay out €1.1m when his brother died "by misadventure" following an inquest.

The action by Kenneth Cleary, of Durham Road, Sandymount, Dublin, against Hibernian Life and Pensions Ltd, is in before the commercial division of the High Court.