The ABI is consulting its members over fears of a rise in critical-illness premiums following the Government's plans for a nationwide prostate cancer screening programme.
Screening is likely to increase the number of diagnosed cases, leading to a massive rise in the number of payouts, meaning insurers would have to increase premiums.
Cases would also be detected early, leaving policyholders without cover as their condition would fall foul of the ABI's definition of cancer as life-threatening.
The ABI is considering amending its definitions so insurers can provide cover for cancer detected in its early stages and when it is more advanced. The trade body says tiered benefits could be a way around the problem.
ABI spokesman Vic Rance says: “Although we welcome the screening process, we are looking at the effects on premiums and consumer choice and how best to minimise the potential impact.”