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Critical barrage for ABI over definitions and website

Leading medical figures have criticised the Association of British Insurers for outdated definitions on major critical illnesses and an inadequate website.

At a conference organised by reinsurer GenRe, Imperial College professor of cancer medicine Karol Sikora described the ABI website as “trash”. One of his main criticisms is it does not define what critical illness is, the ABI&#39s role and what purpose its definitions perform.

University of Edinburgh professor of medical neurology Charles Warlow went as far as recommending to “dump the ABI definition of stroke” altogether.

Similarly University of Wales department of cardiology Dr Maurice Buchalter says the medical terminology on the website could become outdated quickly. Buchalter suggests that experts could be invited to review definitions on an annual basis.

The ABI reviews its definitions on a three-year basis. It says it is looking at improving its website and is releasing a five-point guide for consumers and advice for claims&#39 managers on functional assessment tests. The aim is to help people understand the scope of cover when considering buying protection and the definition of disability in activities of daily living and daily work.

Buchalter says: “The ABI has a very difficult job as definitions can be highly insecure.”

ABI policy adviser, health and protection Vicki Bolton says: “The problem with terminology changing is that you leave a legacy of policies every time you update a definition.”

•Critical questions, p20

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