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ABI working on non-disclosure Christmas present to industry

The Association of British Insurers is working on a new set of guidelines to push insurers to pay a proportion of claims which may otherwise be declined for non-disclosure.

Sources anticipate these guidelines, due before Christmas, will result in more insurers taking responsibility for data collection rather than relying on advisers.

Reinsurers are expected to offer more attractive terms of risk to insurers that collect data themselves, such as through tele-underwriting, because they have lower claims costs than firms which rely on advisers. Munich Re says it is already considering differentiating terms.

It is hoped this change will motivate more advisers to sell protection because they will no longer be burdened with underwriting responsibilities or be liable for misrepresentations.

Meanwhile Axa is piloting medical screening in pharmacies and will use innovative, non-invasive techniques including needle-free skin tests, saliva tests and hair analysis.

The screenings, which will be used when discretionary medicals or blood tests are needed, are designed to be more convenient than traditional nurse or GP appointments and should allow Axa to cut turnaround times for medical information from 25-30 days for GPRs to around 10 days.

In other news Aegon Scottish Equitable has found 88 per cent of its group critical illness policyholders who make a claim use the support services provided by Red Arc.

Red Arc provides successful and unsuccessful claimants, their families and even their employers with practical information and emotional support. It also provides access to services such as specialist nurse home visit, physiotherapy, cardiac rehabilitation, complementary therapy and counselling.

Aegon says the high take up of the service proves people need support as well as a cash payment in times of need.

And lastly, Norwich Union’s parent company Aviva has become the target of a hoaxer who sent an internal memo warning the insurer was insolvent. According to reports the hoaxer posed as finance director Philip Scott in the letter addressed to chief executive Andrew Moss urging him to come clean about the insurer’s financial problems.

The letter claimed Moss had been keeping information from the rest of the board and the firm’s auditors. Aviva, reportedly concerned the hoaxer was a trader or hedge fund looking to profit by pushing the firm’s share price down, has alerted the FSA.

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