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ABI: Advisers should report doctors who are slow producing GP reports

Advisers should report doctors who do not provide GP reports within 21 days to the British Medical Association, according to the Association of British Insurers.

In some life cover and critical-illness cases, insurers require a medical examination or GP report before they put the customer on risk.
One adviser raised concerns about the length of time that GPs are taking to return the requested reports.

He said: “I find that I am fighting a battle with the GP, the insurer is fighting a battle with the GP, and the GP is saying ’I have more important things to do, so don’t bother me’.”

ABI assistant director of health and protection Nick Kirwan said: “The ABI has an agreement with the BMA on the supply of information to the insurance industry.

“BMA guidance says that GPs should provide reports within 21 days, and if GPs do not do this they are in breach of this guidance.

“Advisers should report these cases to the BMA. If the BMA does not hear about these cases, it will not be aware there is a problem. Sooner or later, somebody is going to suffer a critical illness and it will turn out that they are not on risk because of a doctor’s negligence.”

The BMA was unavailable for comment on the issue.


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Well done Nick!!
    We regularly have isues with GP practices getting very uppity about us chainsg for GPR’s and dont take kindly when we tell them that we’ll refer the clients family to them for payout if the client dies before the report is sent back.
    Strangely enough, they dont take to kindly to this and I suspect our report requests get put to the bottom of the pile out of spite….
    Keep up the good work, the BMI can certainly expect to hear from me!!

  2. This delay in GP’s providing medical reports is happening quite a lot as I have experienced myself ( even when the GP has been paid in advance for doing this as more and more are asking for pre-payment). Whilst what Nick is saying makes sense in theory – the reality is that the process to make BMA aware of this is time consuming and unless the client is prepared to put their weight behind this reporting , it seldom goes ahead and in reality not many advises will go down the route of spending more time to bring the issue to BMA’s notice. Perhaps what needs to be done is for client to pay the fee to the GP if a medical report is required and the insurance company to then reimburse the client as it is after all in clients interest to have the report done faster. With the fee being paid initially by client this will lead to greater urgency on their GP to deal with the report within 21 days. In addition when the medical report request is sent to the GP surgery perhaps there needs to be a bold statement thereon to bring to GP’s attention the BMA’s guidelines to reply to this in 21 days time as I believe that many GPs’ and their staff probably are not aware of this in first place

  3. I agree with Chris about GPR’s but in numerous cases I blame the secretary for not informing the doctor sooner and the attitude some of them have when chasing the report. I believe it is the adviser’s responsibilty to chase on a regular basis or your report will end up in cyberspace. However, the article by Nick Kirwan does bring to light the problems we face with doctor’s and the Hitler type secretary. I faced this problem just recently when I was told by the secretary, the doctor has other more important things to be getting on with. I just kept on chasing this case until she eventually got it done. If we don’t chase the GPR’s. Insurance companies or most of them leave it for 21 days which in my opinion is far too long. I chase them weekly, if we don’t when are we ever likely to get paid. I just wish every Insurance company could be like Aviva who certainly have improved on administration and keeping you informed on the progress of your application. Take heed Scot Prov and Bright Grey to name but a few.

  4. ‘Insurance companies or most of them leave it for 21 days which in my opinion is far too long’

    By dint of the BMA / ABI agreement, insurers are not authorised to chase any report until 15 days after issue. Most do in fact begin to chase soon after this.

    At the end of the day, this ‘agreement’ is only an agreement, and GPs only have to follow ‘guidelines’. If a doctor won’t play ball, there is nothing that the insurer or the ABI can do about it. Therein lies the problem. Perhaps more reporting of them will help. Perhaps not…

    One might be reasonably entitled to think relations between insurers and GPs wouldhave improved over the last decade, which after all has seen ‘agreed’ fees for completing reports more than double (way over the rate of inflation).

    Sadly this is not the case. Even the ABI saw the light over the fees issue and removed their agreement in 2010 though this hasn’t stopped the BMA advising their members to charge more every year.

    And what do their patients get for this? Poorer completed reports, and often meaningless printout records, with no regard for the specific questioning put to them by the insurer.

  5. There is also the additional problem that the ABI has decreed that the agreement between the themselves and the BMA is no longer binding on insurance companies. To expect the agreement to be binding on BMA members but not ABI members is clearly not going to work. Especially when the area where ABI members are breaking from the agreement is in paying the agreed fee. You cant have it both ways.

  6. The agreement lapsed – your are incorrect anyway as the agreement stated that the report will be produced within 20 working days which although most of us work weekends is actually 4 weeks.

    There is no current agreed price either – many companies are guilty of “negligence” with regard to actually paying let alone using the current suggested fee! – as for failing to include consent…..

  7. I must confess that I do not understand GP antipathy toward life company medical requests. At £75 a pop I would be inclined to lock myself away with the files, crank up the Wagner, and knock them out by the shedful.

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