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ABI guides insurers over HIV questions

The ABI has published a statement of best practice on HIV and insurance to help insurers accurately assess applications for long-term insurance where HIV may be an issue.

It hopes the statement will help insurers avoid intrusive or inappropriate questioning.

The statement sets out the questions it is reasonable for insurers to ask to assess the risk of HIV which the ABI says identifies behaviour that increases the risk of HIV without asking about sexuality.

Five key principles underpin the statement – underwriting approach, collection of information, use of information, accuracy of information and company policy on HIV and underwriting.

The ABI expects insurance companies to consider each application for insurance on a case-by-case basis and tells its members that an individual&#39s occupation is no guide to their HIV risk.

Only relevant information must be requested by prov-iders so speculative questions relying on inference and assumption on the part of the underwriter such as house co-purchasing arrangements should not be asked.

The underwriter must take account of all relevant information used to reach a decision and must be able to explain the reason for the underwriting decision.

The ABI says insurers should continually review HIV incidence rates and statistics, with a view to updating company policy on HIV/Aids every three years Head of health Richard Walsh says: “HIV remains a sensitive subject, where public attitudes are changing fast. Insurers are also constantly being presented with new information about the risks of HIV, which requires us to update our thinking.”

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