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Defining moment for Swiss Re

In Swiss Re’s open letter to Money Marketing, they stated: “There is a limited time window for this to occur because insurers must change their literature and systems ready to implement the revised code of practice early next year. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the ABI and, we hope, to securing amendments to the April 2006 code to remove the ambiguity and improve clarity.”

This statement was factually incorrect. Two providers, Royal Liver and Prudential, have already adopted the ABIs new statement of best practice definitions for critical-illness cover, believing that doing so sooner rather than later helped us to aid clarity and therefore treat customers fairly. Others are surely about to.

Swiss Re was not only a member of the former ABI critical-illness working party and therefore fully involved in the creation of the ABI’s consultation paper. They also attended the PFS industry gathering on the subject in October last year.

Forget the details of their argument here for a second. Even if the other reinsurers in the UK did agree with the Swiss Re stance, and they don’t, at no stage during that PFS gathering did Swiss Re raise their issue with the cancer definition.

No one can argue that Swiss Re have not had more than an ample opportunity to raise any concerns in this area during the consultation process.

For providers, reinsurers and indeed advisers writing the new products, the Swiss Re suggestion – to change the new definition wordings at this late stage in proceedings – is at a minimum not treating anyone fairly and some would say totally lacking any thought of the impact of their request.

Royal Liver raised our feelings with both Richard Walsh and Nick Kirwan three weeks ago. Nick replied to us quickly, saying that he “could not agree with us more”. Richard confirmed that the ABI was waiting for medical details from Swiss Re and that the issue had not been progressed any further with the ABI’s protection committee.

We all had our opportunity to raise any concerns that we had with the ABI’s new definition wordings before they were implemented. For any organisation to fail to make the most of that opportunity and then belatedly at this time request a change that would cause major disruption to the protection industry is questionable, especially when the change in question is a minor one.

Andy Milburn

IFA market manager

Progress from Royal Liver

Liverpool

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